As I was sitting alone in the dark feeding my frustration large sugary bits of self pity over being confined to the cathedral for a week, a transparent figure of a small man crashed my pity-party by approaching me.
"Welcome," he said with a strong Greek accent; "I am Hariloas, the chanter here for decades; The Lord allows me to return to visit from time to time. He sent me to be with you today. How I loved to fill every corner of this glorious space with the perfect pitch of praise."
To demonstrate, Harilaos bellowed out troparia of the Paraclisis to the Virgin Mary. His voice was breathtaking! This small figure of a man chanted like the largest archangel I had ever heard. I had never before appreciated the human voice as much as at that moment. In a flash I perceived how the proportion and dynamics of the space perfectly mirrored the rhythm and harmony and even texture of this little god's big voice. It was as if I was listening to the material version of what I was seeing. These talented little gods blended visual beauty and glorious chanting and a rich aroma to create a hallowed sensory space in which to worship my God. We angels never could have accomplished such a marvel.
When he finished Harilaos looked at me with a mysterious knowing smile on his face, obviously satisfied with Himself for conveying exactly what he wanted to say. "Don't resist learning, my angelic friend. Humans, those little gods you refer to, have much to teach you within these walls. Even as a fruit tree must be pruned so it can produce more fruit, so your love of the air must be severely cut back for you to comprehend the stunning beauty of the Body of Christ and His Bride. Wake-up!"
Soon after Harilaos excused himself I saw him below standing at his marble podium on the right of closed golden altar doors gazing at the round mosaic of God, the Holy Spirit Dove above him and I heard him chanting the Hymn of Kassiani.
With the gradual sun rise the stained glass windows began to show their subdued colors and the intricacies of the mosaic figures all around me came into focus. A beam of light streamed through the east windows high in the dome forming a spotlight on the pews in front of me to call me out of my seat.
I flew down to get a better look around. A man appeared, at first scurrying about unlocking doors and looking purposeful. Then another man in a long black gown appeared, and another chanter, this time a large figure of a man who reminded me of the militant archangel Michael, took Hariloas' place on the podium. The priest and the chanter recited psalms of King David and ancient prayers in this large nearly empty space. But, it wasn't empty for long; more and more of the spirits of past members poured into the room, and very gradually more of the embodied people joined them.
As the liturgy progressed I felt myself wrapped in worship. I flew behind the altar to see what the men in gowns were doing. There was so much activity as men and boys busily performed all sorts of acts. There were censors to fill to make the smoky perfume, bread being cut, various processions to conduct and sometimes they just sat quiet and still. All the while the master chanter and his troupe chanted in turns and together and from time to time the priests chanted too.
At one point the mass of people, with and without flesh, who filled the pews knelt and closed their eyes. I could not believe it, and you may not believe me, but I saw Jesus Christ, God's Incarnation right there, inside the building. I am not sure that anyone of the bodied people saw Him, but you can be sure that the angels did, and the spirit people did. Their posture made it obvious to me that they saw Who I saw.
Jesus came into the altar and covered a golden chalice with His mighty spirit hand. I saw His blood flow into the chalice from a wound in the palm of His hand, and then the liquid in the chalice rose up, and streamed back into His hand. Holy Blood flowed in a circular motion around and around it went from the chalice to the hand and back. Then, Jesus reached into His chest and pulled out pieces of His body which He cut up with His hands like bread and dropped them into the chalice, but strangely His Body was still in tact.
Then quietly and solemnly The Lord evaporated as I have known Him to do, whether He was still present or not I could not say. I glanced out from the golden doors at the people who had kneeled down and closed their eyes and one by one the young and old, the spirit and the fleshly, reopened their eyes and stood up, until the entire congregation was erect. I noticed that a few people wore the remains of little tears that had fallen from their shut eyes. I could certainly understand why. I believe that if I had eyes, they would have gushed from the sight of what had just happened in there.
The chanting and praying continued. The people joined the chanter in proclaiming what they believed about God and His Son, and they also recited in unison from their hearts a simple little prayer that Jesus had taught them.
After a while the priest appeared holding that golden chalice from which God's hand had bled! What was he going to do with it I wondered?
I then heard the priest say,"With faith and with love, draw near."
What, I thought! Why? What were the people going up there to do?
The spirit people stayed back, but many of the embodied people came out of their pews one by one and reverently stood in line. I could heard them apologizing to God and praying as they stood there, men women and children, all sizes and shapes of little gods stood patiently and reverently in line as one by one they approached the priest with the golden chalice.
As I glanced from the line to the priest, low and behold I saw the priest feeding them with a little golden spoon from the chalice! The little gods were consuming the blood of God, and eating His flesh! I was stunned; no, I was flabbergasted! I was amazed! I was humbled. I was envious. If anything at all could have whipped the cynicism right out of me, it was what I was experiencing at that moment. What kind of love would cause a person to eat and drink the blood of God incarnate?
Could this have been what Jesus meant when He asked me to tell Him the favorite food of the Bride? Oh Food of foods! Oh amazing grace! Now I can see how some of the people are truly little gods. I have heard about how in the mother's womb her blood enters her baby and that they are united by the blood that nourishes them both, but here the Bride of Christ literally flows Blood from her betrothed into her children who stand hungry and longing for the sustenance this Blood of God offers them.
I was overwhelmed. Harilaos came over and held me and hugged me. I had never before, even in heaven experienced anything so magnificent. Have you ever seen an angel cry?