Tuesday, July 26, 2011


A group of sleepy-eyed students boarded two vans at 7:30 AM this morning to attend morning Mass at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church here in Nashville, Tennessee.

I did not know what to expect with this being my first time ever stepping into a church; however, what I experienced and observed was far beyond what I had anticipated.

Inside, the chapel was just intricate—delicately carved pillars rose up towards the wooden ceiling above, and the sweet smell of incense filled the air. A natural light filtered in from the grand windows high above the walls, making visible the thick smoke of the burning candles.

The service was intriguing, as well as a bit strenuous for us student visitors. We all stood and sat when appropriate as a sign of respect; the majority of the time, the worshippers (therefore, we as well) stood. I learned later that one stands in the house of worship because he is in the presence of a king: Jesus Christ.

After much reading from the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, the priest offered the worshippers receiving Communion blessed bread and wine— the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We students did not receive Communion, of course, because we are not of Greek Orthodox faith. However, it was definitely a ritual worth seeing.

Learning about Christianity, or any religion, for that matter, is so incomparable when one actually has the experience of standing-- even watching worship-- in a holy house. It is satisfying in a way, enlightening in a way, and no doubt beautiful. I have learned to appreciate and respect culture—the different beliefs people hold to their heart and the varying traditions people perform in faith.

Tonight was our last sign out night, so our proctor group, along with some other friends, decided to head over to CABANA for dinner and/or dessert.

I ordered a cream cheese brownie with vanilla ice cream (similar to what Aiyana had) and contemplated on how far all of us have come here at VSA.

We only have a couple days left here at Vanderbilt, and the three weeks seemed to have flown by. We have developed friendships that are simply heartwarming, and met great individuals who will no doubt go far to be successful in this world.

However, we have also discovered something about ourselves, whether it be something profound, such as the discovery of a passion for engineering, or something less substantial, such as the discovery that I cannot dance (my Arete class is Dance Around the World).

Although our parting may be tearful, we must all learn to live in the moment, because there are not many left here.

…Today's lesson on Buddhism has taught me well.

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