We ought to know that every mornings in the churches are officiated the Matins and the Holy Liturgy if it is Sunday or holiday and every afternoon is officiated the Vespers and in certain churches it is followed by the oratory.
Every morning the bell tolls and it tolls in the afternoon as well to remind us that it begins a public prayer and we are summoned to it. Many people think that these holy services are addressed only to the priests and the monks and are officiated exclusively for them.
No, my brothers, the holy services are not addressed only to the priests and monks, they concern us as well. That’s why we all should go to the churches at these hours.
Here allow me to make an observation and express a request. On every Sunday and on holy days most of you come to the church in the last half an hour or even the last quarter of an hour, right before the Holy Liturgy ends and you feel content that you fulfilled your duty to go to the church. Some of you go to the church after the Holy Liturgy to light a candle and feel content.
The bell tolls for the first time and tells us: `Come, we start the holy service!` It tolls for the second time when it is sung the hymn for Theotokos: It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos we magnify you! urges us to hurry up. And it tolls for the third time at Doxology to tell us: `We are at the Holy Liturgy, you are late.` However we are still late.
At the theatre after the show begins the doors are closed and even if we are late for a minute we are not allowed to get in anymore. At the TV shows we are never late, not for a single minute nor are we late at the office where we must mark the card at the set hour or at our appointments, at our shoppings, we try to be punctual everywhere and woe to that one who doesn’t follow the schedule precisely. Only in a single respect we don’t care about schedule, in going to the church.
God waits, He doesn’t punish, He doesn’t have a watch. But has it ever crossed your mind how many things you lose when you don’t come to the church? I refer especially at the Sunday services, at the Matins and the Holy Liturturgy officiated then. The Matins is the preparation of the priest and of the believers for the Holy Liturgy. Unfortunately only a few Christians come to the Matins but these people gain a lot. Many don’t even know what means the Matins or the Holy Liturgy since they come in the last moment when they want to commune.
Brothers, let us learn what means the divine cult, let us find out what is its importance in our life so that we can participate at this with an ardent desire and in this way to enjoy its benefits. And let’s consider a great loss when we lose even a few minutes and not hours from the divine service.