Entering the doors of an Ukrainian Orthodox church the heart catches at the flames lifting from multiple slender candles. Prayers rising. Icons glistening as visual reminders of God’s grace.
Liturgy, full with singing, chanting and rich harmony. First the priest, followed by the choir. Occasionally the congregation joining. Respect. Veneration. Physically kneeling before a holy God. Silent prayers. Spoken prayers.
Confession offered. Communion for those who have confessed.
And, the sermon, centered on Scripture. Filled with admonishment and encouragement.
In a work of adoration and devotion, the Ukrainian congregation stands for the entire two hour service. Entering the service is not a casual retreat from the everyday world, spending time in offhand prayer and singing. but a determined effort of physical reverence before the Lord.
End note: The service in which we participated was completely in Ukrainian. However, the language barrier in no way inhibited the deep experience of worship. We were thankful for a prayer book written in English to help us through pieces of the service.