Sunday, February 1, 2009

St. Sophia Cathedral

Today my church took a field trip. We took four charter buses to St. Sophia Cathedral, a Greek-Orthodox church in downtown LA.

I was so excited to attend the service, and so glad that I attend a church that thinks its valuable to bridge our denominational differences and worship Jesus together.

About a year ago, Katie Bug and I drove down to Austin to attend the Greek Festival and St. Nicolas church. We didn't get to attend a service, but Father Jim gave us a lot of great info about Greek Orthodoxy (and I think I posted about it on the tiffslifeinwaco blog). The pictures above and below are from their website.

If you haven't been inside a Greek Orthodox church before, you are in for an experience. The inside is lush and ornate, bright and shiny - everything at St. Sophia is painted gold and the icons are in beautiful rich colors. From the outside you wouldn't know it. The outside is modest, sedate, strong and attractive, but not showy.

Father John explained that the sanctuary is a temple, for the Greek Orthodox, and the inside is full of light. He talked about how this is a representation of the believer, and how the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit's light - and that with the indwelling Holy Spirit we are ornate and rich and beautiful on the inside. I especially appreciated this analogy, when I think of Peter's words that we are not to be showy and adorned in ornate ways on the outside - we as believers are supposed to be modest, but also supposed to share the light of Christ that is on our inside.

Anyway, I thought that was a really neat analogy. I love that in the Greek Orthodox church you worship from start to finish with all of your senses, not to mention your heart and mind. The entire service is sung/chanted and I was surprised at how beautiful it was. I didn't know what to expect, but Father John has a beautiful voice and it made me think about how I often sing my praises in the morning, during my quiet time, and that the Lord is blessed when we worship him in that way.

We were so welcomed into the family at St. Sophia's and it was neat to see my church really live what it believes - which is that in order to make LA the greatest city for Christ, it is going to take all the Christian churches - and that we are all going to have to reach across denominational barriers. I am grateful that in heaven we will all worship together at the throne of Christ, and I pray that we can increasingly worship together here on earth!

p.s. check out the latest star sighting to the right!!