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The Great River Anduin

June 8, 2012

I have been an Orthodox Christian for about six months now. Well, I have been able to receive the Holy Mysteries for about that long. It has been a great source of strength and joy in my life. But like anything, when life becomes full of distractions, the spiritual life can be put on cruise control, so to speak. I got to thinking of it as being analogous to the Fellowship’s ride down the River Anduin. Having just come through the Lenten period and the fifty days of Paschal joy, the Ascension and Pentecost, it feels like the flow of life is “back to normal”. And while there is nothing wrong with that, to me, there is a great cause for concern.

As with any river, one’s senses are heightened  when there are rapids, rocks, or battle. Once the intensity is over, and the course of the river returns to its regular flow, there is a letting down of the guard. One begins to lose track of the passing of time, as it did with those in the boats of Lorien, on Anduin. For myself, the intensity of Lent and the season of Pascha that followed was a time of spiritual intensity, which heightened my senses and helped me focus. It was like a ride down the rapids. Dangerous, but enlivening. With the return to “everyday life”, I can sense myself “losing track of time”.

It was at these points in the journey of the Fellowship that they were in the most danger. In fact, it was during a slow drift downstream that one of the attacks came from shore. I need to keep my own guard up, and be ready for the “night attack”. It’s times like these that the words of Ephesians about the armor of God become more than just verses to memorize, or help our kids memorize for their Sunday School classes.

One of the things I am grateful for, is that our Orthodox faith is not just intellectual or ethereal. It involves our bodies, it calls us back to attention when we start to “chase butterflies”. I am always glad to have my attention snapped back when I drift during the Liturgy, Vespers or Matins. Just like the morning prayers, I ask God to help me to be diligent and faithful. Lord, keep me from slipping.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2012 11:52 am

    It may actually gets increasingly dangerous as you get further along…welcome to the club/Fellowship 🙂

    • June 8, 2012 3:26 pm

      Yeah, no kidding! Thank God for His Holy Mysteries that strengthen us. The attacks are different than they used to be. And, you’re right, more dangerous!

  2. Randi permalink
    June 10, 2012 12:50 pm

    It’s so easy to drift, isn’t it? We do need to have our attention “snapped back”…thanks, J

    • June 11, 2012 12:55 pm

      It’s quite astonishing how quick one can drift. Well, I’m astonished at how quick I drift. Like Father Patrick said on Pentecost, our Church Traditions are not just annual celebrations, they are reminders of the promises we have been given. What a great way to keep us on track!

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