I attended an Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church today (here in Denver) for the first time and I must say my expectations were probably too high.
Since I want to now give my life back to the Lord, I decided that I wanted to find the origins of Christianity which led me to Orthodoxy. I've been reading plenty of articles regarding the faith and I agree with it to the fullest, it just seems not only logical but natural to me.
The more I read about Orthodox Church the more I was excited about it's worshipping which involved music. I was happy to see Jesus treated as someone who is "sacred" (for lack of a better term) and awed at the beauty of Orthodox worship.
However I attended my first High Mass this morning and I came away with feeling like an alien. Considering my evangelical/Protestant background, I was confused on what was going on and could not even follow the book they had regarding prayers (which skipped around the pages alot). I felt that the priest and his assistant (I assume that's his title) genuinely worshipped the Lord however I myself am struggling to worship and I wonder if that is due to my lack of how to wroship properly in the Orthodox Church.
I was dissapointed by the lack of music, which I thought there was going to be. I don't know I guess I had this image in my head of what it was supposed to be like, but I was confused, uncertain and lost at the end of the Liturgy.
Greetings in that Divine and Most precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The flavors and rhythms of Orthodox worship indeed take a life-time to adjust, don't feel so discouraged! Did you honestly expect to walk into your first Mass and perfectly fit right in like a glove? Don't fret such things, if you feel the reverberation of Orthodoxy resonated within your Heart, then continue in this Faith as best you are able. Attend services with no expectations other then to offer God the best worship you can, and feel no way about anything else. Indeed, sometimes part of the Orthodox experience is to feel alienated, but do not fret, God will always offer a reconciliation to the sincere seeker who humbly knocks at the gates.
Next time you attend a service, leave the Mass book at home and simply stand there and experience the prayers, their sight and sound and feelings, experience them without expectations or interpretations, just as the raw life, stand in prayer burning like the candles, and surely in His Sacramental Time God will visit you. Remember above else, that there is seldom opportunities for instant gratification in the Orthodox Church, the purpose of Our Mother the Church is to teach us to operate within the economy of God's Time, and not our own, and this in and of itself is a frighteningly humbling experience sometimes.
And if you after more services still do not "feel it", then church hop other Orthodox congregations until you do "feel it"