I keep a sort of on-again, off-again journal when I can be bothered with it. After attending my very first Orthodox liturgy, I sat down and wrote this:
“…The most striking part of the Liturgy was the sheer gravity and reverence of it all. One could never dream of denying the presence of God in such a place. These people have such a reverence and respect for their faith; no, rather the Liturgy inspires a reverence in those that wish to find it. Perhaps both.
“The Liturgy and everything involved gives a great sense of holiness. I mean to say, it is very strange to see things considered holy in a church. There is a lackadaisical affect in the Protestant services that I know. Communion is a snack, worship is an out-of-tune guitar and some PowerPoint slides with a bad wannabe rock band. In the Liturgy, everything is done with tremendous reverence, as though one were in the physical presence of God Himself…
“The whole service centers around the Eucharist; what my Protestant brothers would know as ‘communion’. It bears no similarity at all. To the Protestant churches I have known, communion is some dry crackers in a bowl and individual plastic cups of Welches Grape Juice. It is passed around by the ushers for anyone to mash their grubby fingers into while they dig around for the biggest cracker.
“The pastor then spends 30 minutes lecturing on the unimportance of the communion. He tells you why it’s just a cracker; it’s just juice; we do it because Jesus said so. Anyone can take some without regard for their relationship with God; there is no preparation of the heart but for a moment of silence before chowing down. Leftovers are tossed in the trash and little cups are littered throughout the sanctuary leaving little red juice stains on the pews. Snackin’ for Jesus ™.
“But, to the Orthodox, the entirety of the Liturgy centers around its preparation. The elements are consecrated and set aside as holy before the Lord. It is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ… it is a divine mystery that cannot be explained. One must prepare to receive the Eucharist, fasting, prayer, and confession of sins are all absolutely necessary… even the remnants are considered holy, and they are treated as such…”
I went on and wrote about some other stuff too, but this was the main thing that really hit me hard about Orthodoxy. Coming from the non-denominational Protestant background that I knew my entire life, surrounded by all the “Jesus is my homeboy” dudebros that I was friends with, I was always searching for a place where I felt that God was given the proper reverence due to His position. Orthodoxy is where I found it, and it’s where I plan to stay.