I couldn't get into the parish...
Saturday afternoon, I was experiencing deep despondency. I had napped and then done nothing all afternoon. I even texted a friend of mine that I didn't want to come to Vespers that evening. I was giving up on Church all together, in fact. He texted me back offering me a ride. So I was able to put on a business shirt and slacks and then he came by and picked me up.

We arrived a little bit late that day. Normally, when I go, I get there about an hour before Vespers start. I live about 45 minutes away from the parish and I have strong anxiety issues so I always leave my house much earlier. I'm paranoid about traffic. We were only 10 minutes late though. He went through the doors of the parish into the narthex and then into the parish hall. He was making the Agape meal that night. I went up to the parish door, opened it, and then something held me back from entering into the parish.

One of the deacons was inside the narthex holding his smallest child. My godmother was also in the narthex with her two smallest children. The deacon came out and greeted me. He extended his hand toward me. Offered me to come inside. I couldn't get in. "It's a little warmer inside, how about you come in?" he said to me. It was also raining. I still couldn't get into the parish. He told me he'd go find someone else to stay there with me since he was still holding his littlest in his arms.

My godmother was the second person to come out to me. She told me she'd been praying for me all week. She told me she prayed for me that morning too. She asked if she could give me a hug. She did. I let her. I walked toward the icon of St. Elias on the wall of the wheel-chair ramp. She then also invited me into the parish. I still could not get in. There was something preventing me from getting in.

That was when the deaconess, the wife of the previously aforementioned deacon, walked out. She stood there outside. Quiet. She seemed to not be doing anything. That was when I started walking away from the parish all together. I went out across the parking lot to the edge of the property line. I looked back for the deaconess. She had moved back into the narthex. I wondered if she would care if I walked out of sight. But that was when another force drew me back toward the parish.

I walked back across the parking lot, unbuttoned my shirt and arrived back at the door. The deaconess flung open the door. "Welcome Lord Jesus!" she said to me.

"You must have me confused with someone else," I replied when it registered that she had said this to me. I couldn't have looked that great with my undershirt showing through the "v" shape the collar of my polo was now leaving and the rain-dampened clothes.

She started praying at that point. She had been doing that the entire time. "Lord Jesus, may your servant be given the ability to see you in the flesh if he needs to..." and finally ended her prayers with "Be gone Satan!"

At the end of these prayers, I collapsed onto the floor of the narthex. I had finally made into the parish which I had been prevented from getting into. She had lifted what was oppressing me, the thing that was preventing me from getting into the parish. With my hands and knees on the floor, she said "Get up and walk!" and she and my friend helped lift me to my feet and brought me into the nave. This was certainly not quite like the healing of the paralytic, eventually I had to be sat down on a chair in the narthex. But soon afterwards, I was walking about. Just barely, and faintly, but nothing was preventing me from getting into the parish. I was even able to go to reconciliation after Vespers.

I have no doubt that whatever it was I witnessed and experienced that night, the hand of God was moving. I have no doubt that what I witnessed from the doors of the parish was the Gospel and the Kingdom of God on Earth. My friend spoke of the prayers of the deaconess that he would have done anything she told him to do after that. The deaconess and I were talking about what happened in the parish hall during the Agape meal. She was making certain that I was drinking water. I recalled the following scriptures:

"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:34-40)

Messages In This Thread
RE: I couldn't get into the parish... - by newenglandsun - 02-04-2020, 10:18 AM
RE: I couldn't get into the parish... - by Zedta - 02-04-2020, 04:11 PM

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