Last night I stood in the porch of heaven. Angels were singing to the Mother who bore God about what a wonderful occasion it was when she first entered the Temple: the vessel prepared for the Lord’s entrance into our world had come at last to the holy place, a foreshadowing of his soon coming.
“The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple.”
I stood respectfully in the back since I had entered late. The stiffness in my back disappeared as I took my place next to dear St. Nicholas, who has been a good friend to my family in recent days. He wears a kind, mild, or merry expression most of the time, but has been known to be stern on occasion and my dear Father says that once he looked positively smug.
My attention, however, was drawn to what was happening further in. Through the dark glass windows I could see into the very heaven, where Christ stood blessing his people. I bowed to him – what a relief.
I did not know the song, but some others on the porch were singing along with the angels. I chimed in at “Lord, have mercy” and saw that he was acknowledging my best attempt to join the praise.
Then it was over, or nearly over. I approached slowly to a window through which I could look and see the Mother of God, that meek and courageous maiden whose obedience brought her to the heights of glory. I made a kiss at her hand through the window and looked down, ashamed. I who am less than her may still follow her example.
Then I looked up and through another window I saw a flash of brilliant clarity – Christ beckoning me to come nearer. I could not yet pass through the window to him but rejoicing I kissed his window also, and his holy cross, and recieved his final blessing. Around me others who are before me were putting out the lights.
We looked through a few more windows at various saints, and through one behind which the Holy Trinity itself is said to be visible, though it was too great for me to see. Then we left the presence of God to keep our porch till we should need it next.
Narnia, Middle Earth, every place of longing – it is all the Church. I love Orthodoxy.