(Just a note: there's some news in the post below this one that regular readers of this blog--however few y'all may be!--might be interested in reading, so y'all be sure to scroll down.)
A bit of rejoicing for our parish; as some of you will remember, the picture to the right was during this past Pentecost season, when his Eminence Archbishop +DMITRI came to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. We had at our disposal our portable iconostas that was at that time our only resource for worship upon having moved to our new building. We have recently employed the skills of Father Michael Storozuk of St. Paul's in Denison to construct a more permanent iconostas for our worship area.
As I'm sure you'll agree, the finished product, which was used for Nativity services (much to the appreciation of all those in attendance) is a much more inspiring piece of craftmanship. We thank God and His servant the priest Michael for this work, through which the Lord of Glory, His mother, and His saints are made to stand with us as we stand before the altar of His holiness in worship.
Also striking--today in particular--was the fact that, on the way to Nativity service this morning, all other churches on what has been termed "church row" here in Fort Worth had empty parking lots (including the A of G megachurch next door), but the "church with the funny dome and cross" had a good crowd! While that could lend itself to triumphalist, "look-at-how-devout-we-are" chest thumping, it rather served, to me at least, to move me beyond the individuals in our parish (or even individual parishes) to the character of the Church at large: ours, thank God, is a communion where the place to remember Christ's birth is not (principally) around a Norman Rockwell-style dinner table, but around a chalice, where the Kingdom to come is here now, the earthly cares and racing clock fall away--or, rather, are put in their correct priority and submitted (and thereby renewed) by the "one thing needful," an encounter with He Who Is which makes us Who We Are. Such a purpose--and the fact that neither I nor any other member or members had anything to do with the forming of said purpose--and the fact that we are able, as individuals and a communion of believers, to participate in the fruit of that purpose, is not so much self-inflating as it is humbling, and a cause for thankfulness.
Christ is born, and the incarnate One is made present in the midst of those He indwells as they gather in His Name.