Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dinner with the Orthodox

We went to the monthly dinner out with our new Orthodox friends last night. Adora agreed to watch the kids so we could go mingle free of the responsibility and food issues (I think Ben Feingold would turn in his grave at a Chinese Buffet!) and we were so eager to get going that we made the mistake of arriving at the restaurant a few minutes early. We realized what we'd done a few paces before we reached the door and then had to stand in the doorway haggling over whether to wait out the next 20-30 minutes inside or out. We opted for inside where we were immediately regaled by an eager hostess who asked us if we were looking for the Wawa group. Well, darn if we knew the answer to that one! We didn't think a church dinner would be the Wawa group but maybe Wawa is Ukrainian for parish supper - how are we supposed to know? So we decided to sit in the carry-out waiting area and look for ...Wawa, whatever that may be. Well, it only took Mr. Wawa about 10 minutes for he and his wife to arrive (pretty good for Orthodox folk). It turns out Mr. Wawa happened to be calling to reserve the room for the church from a Wawa store which showed up on the restaurant's caller i.d. So the four of us gathered in the room and got acquainted while waiting for the remainder of the crowd. Apparently these suppers usually attract at least about 20 people but it looked like this one was going to be slim pickings. Fr. Greg, Pani Chris and the family were the next to arrive - they actually had an excuse for being 20 minutes late besides just the whole Orthodox thing - it seemed to have involved a naked three year old. We didn't press for details. Within 45 minutes of the scheduled arrival time all those coming aboard had arrived and it turned out to be a cozy group of 8 adults and 5 kids. We really enjoyed the conversation and the food and the ability to watch other people's kids run rampant around a restaurant without rallying our own, or cutting up a million pieces of meat, picking over 50 different buffet items only to find that the only things on the family diet are two types of fruit and having our conversation interrupted by sixteen trips to the bathroom. It seems there's a lot of common ground there - lots of educated, science minded folks for Tad to talk with and down-to-earth women committed to family life to whom I could relate.

We did stumble over a bit of a language barrier as we were pressed for details of various events in our life - such as our adoptions. As soon as I began to speak freely of having visions, hearing God's voice distinctly and openly sharing the details of my prayer life there were some interesting responses which I have yet to decipher. I realized some of the charismatic-speak which comes so naturally to us can sound like a foreign language. I am actually thankful for this. Tad and I have both been pondering the consequences of focusing so keenly on the charismatic and we're glad to close up our charismatic shells - at least for a season - and crawl into a more introspective mode of worship. We are relishing in allowing God to speak quietly to the recesses of our hearts without the need to "invoke" His Spirit, "encourage the bretheren" with prophecy or tongues or "enter in" to worship, all the while wondering if we're doing "it" right - whatever "it" is. For now, I'm content to allow "it" to simply remain yet another Mystery of God's incarnation.

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