Easter Day proved to be a rather interesting afternoon for my family.
We began the morning with an Easter Breakfast then went to my sister in law house
for lunch.My brother in law,Nick,brother Sam and his wife,from Bridgeport,were also present.
As always the conversation seems to turn to religion.Sam tells me that the Bridgeport Orthodox Church,which they build just last year,as been growing with an influx of people being converts to the faith.
They had so many people at Saturday evening service that as they stood in the entry way with their lit candles awaiting the great entrance into the church,the heat from both bodies and candle flames set the fire alarms off,so the fire department became an uninvited but welcomed guest.
"Christ has risen" even for the Bridgeport Fire department.
Sam went on to say that since they now have 2 priest they do two Sunday Services,one at 9 am for the converts and those who prefer an English spoken service and one directly afterwards for those who want the traditional Romanian Service.
His wife,Louise,told me that all this mesh of different kinds of people has enriched the church and helped it to grow.She said that many is the time you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit among all those gathered together in prayer.
At one service in particular,the priest spoke about how when he was young he was always into trouble. A man who no one would have expected to turn his life over to God.He talk about his conversion and how unworthy he was to have had God take this special interest in him. When he concluded he had every one stand and sing "Amazing Grace".They said there was not one dry eye in the church.
On another occasion Louise talked about a woman in their church who found out she was very ill.The priest asked her to come to him he blessed her with holy oils then asked every one in the church to come forward place their hands on the woman and pray.Louise said it was the most stirring thing she had ever done and the warmth of all those prayers and hand touching helped this woman to feel like a true part of the community and regain her courage as she fights her battle to become well again.
Some time I think we spend to much time worrying about traditions and getting everything right and we forget that the reason we are in a church community is to be just that "a Community".We are suppose to up lift,comfort and help the other members of the church so they know they are not alone.
We are a family and how much closer can one get to another human being then to pray for them and physically touch them.
St.Paul talks about "holding all things in common and sharing as each one has need".
Need can mean many thing to each person but the aim of the church and its members should be to help fill needs no matter what they are.