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The Most Important Day of My Life April 11, 2009

Posted by Justin Farr in The Journey.

By means of Lazarus has Christ already plundered you, O death. Where is your victory, O Hades? For the lament of Bethany is handed over now to you. Let us all wave against it our branches of victory.

Today was the most important day of my life.

Today, I was received into God’s Holy Church.

Today, I was baptized in Christ and put on Christ.

Today, I was chrismated, receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I was adorned with a cross that I will wear into my grave.

Today, I felt loved.

Today, I took on as patrons Saints Cyprian and Justina, glorious martyrs.

Today, I received Communion. I ate the Body of God and drank His Precious Blood.

Today was my wedding day. My Bridegroom was Christ our God.

Today was the most important day of my life.

I cannot even begin to describe my joy today. I was at church for over 6 hours . It began with my life confession. I had to confess the serious tribulations I have faced this past week or so in preparation for Holy Baptism. I was so close to coming into the Church, and likewise so very close to abandoning all of it. I cursed and wept and mourned. Never underestimate the craftiness of the Devil. He will employ everything to ensnare you, to keep you from being received into God’s Church. The closer you get, the harder he fights. God have mercy on me for this past week. If I did not have people that loved me to shove me along, I would not have made it. Which, apparently, is fine. When I confessed this, Father Stephen said something along the lines of, “That’s alright. Some come kicking and screaming.” Boy, did that describe me!

But here I am, a member of Christ’s Church. The multitude of joys I experienced today cannot be fully detailed. From the time people started pouring in the church, a smile plastered my face. The entire service I couldn’t help but to grin from ear to ear.

I never thought I would make it. I can’t believe I am here. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was sneaking on foot to the services at the Greek Orthodox church nearby. The first time I went inside that church, I cried, thanking God for allowing me such an opportunity. I wept tears of joy, and I was in utter awe of the beauty of God’s house. Mama found out, but eventually started to let me go to church there. Then I got a car, and drove secretly with my friend Kaleigh to St. Anne’s in Oak Ridge for the first time. Mom started letting me go there, too, thank God. Before I knew it, I was a catechumen, talking to Father Justin at 10 o’clock at night at the McDonald’s as I crawled along the narrow road, taking two steps forward and one step back. In a flash he leaves for Kansas City. Things continued to degrade. Next thing I know, I am a member of Christ’s Holy Church.

Where does time go? I can’t believe it.

Some family came. Mama, David, my sister Daria, Nana, Uncle Will and Uncle Allen. Video was recorded and many photos were taken. They came to support me, and that made me smile all the wider. One touching moment during the service, when Father Stephen was blessing the baptismal waters, mom and I made eye contact. “I love you,” she mouthed, smiling sincerely. She looked so proud of me, and it touched my heart. “I love you, too,” I mouthed back, and smile.

I saw friends received into the Church. I plunged down three times in the waters, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. I was granted the seal of the Holy Spirit through chrism. That smell stayed with me most of the day. It is distinctive smell I will never forget. The scent and the oil itself goes back to the Apostles. It amazes me to think that I was received into the Church with the same oil that was used on the greatest of saints.

Family came. Friends surrounded me. I would look up now and again and make eye contact with them, and they would smile. The kind of smile that says, “I am so happy to be here and watch you do this.” My new godfather, Clem, stood beside me and supported me. He held my candle, symbolizing the light of Christ God. He urged me along. He placed my new cross around my neck. Clem also followed behind me in the procession three times around the horse trough that I was baptized in. I died and was raised again in Christ’s resurrection, through the waters of baptism, just like Lazarus was raised by Christ. When he was first brought back to life, however, he was still bound in the wraps. He probably needed people to help him along. Similarly, Clem and Father Stephen are there for me. One in front, one in back, ready to catch me if I fall as I try to fully accept the risen life that Christ our God has given me.

I still can hardly believe this has happened.

I stood by my godfather and friends, surrounded by parishioners who love me, as I worshiped God in the following Divine Liturgy. Finally, I approached the Chalice containing the Body and Blood of our God and Savior. I received Communion. I felt complete. Whole. Everything made sense. The voids inside my heart were filled as I intimately received God in a way unimaginable.

The day has been filled with joy. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget the encouragement. The support. The smiles. The hugs. The smells.  Even the laughs. Apparently I “baptized” several people nearby when I was getting out of the baptismal font and slung water everywhere!! Hah. It was such a great day…

Why did I feel lonely? Why did I feel unloved? I am always loved, and I am never alone. I truly realized this today as people surrounded me, as angels crowded around us inside of the church, as God descended down upon us. I married God today. I received God today. I put on God today.

My joy is inexpressible. I keep trying to write it all out, and to speak of the immense love I find in my heart. But all I can do is smile and know that that says everything I need to say.

Today was the most important and beautiful day of my life. Glory to God!



1. desertseeker - April 21, 2009

Oops, I commented on this post, but wrote it on the previous post. Sorry about that. 🙂

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