Heaven on earth is how the Greek Orthodox describe their liturgy. I call it worship in three dimensions, and I didn’t even need any special glasses. But I sure could have used an interpreter, or maybe some of those Google glasses. Part of the service was in Greek, part on Slovak, part in Russian, and part in English.
Spokane’s Holy Trinity church on North Washington was my first time in a Greek Orthodox Church, and it truly was a multi-dimensional experience. At different times I observed the smell of incense, the sights of the icons and the stained glass windows, the submissive kneeling, the taste of the bread and wine and the community of believers. The smell of the incense represented the presence of Christ all around us while the icons and the stained glass windows depicted his life. The blessing of the holy water, a literal sprinkling of the entire congregation with water, showed me the Holy Spirit. During the liturgy, the pastor spoke the words of Christ while everyone sang the response at the same time. It wasn’t necessarily intended for the mind to comprehend, but rather for the soul to be enlivened. I felt Christ with all the senses rather than just thinking on an intellectual reading of Scripture.
Much of Western Christianity focuses on the Bible and the mind. But through most of Christian history, literacy rates have been much lower than they are today and still are in many parts of the Eastern world. Where a modern Evangelical church seeks to teach through the sermon, this Greek Orthodox service had no sermon. Nothing was spoken; everything was either chanted or sung. Instead, they taught through demonstration, liturgy, and art.