When I was going to College last year there happened to be a church within short walking distance from me. I thought I would see how it was since it was so close and It turned out to be a true blessing. I mean not just better than what I had expected, but better than any parish I had attended thus far. Even better than the ROCOR Cathedral that I would drive 45 min to get to (well their choir is a little better than us but we are still pretty good). In side it looks like a poor man's Jordanville. We dont have frescos but there are icons every where and the oriental rugs on the hardwood floors. Its much smaller where we are at but the actual church is big as it was a western church and the sanctuary/nave/narthex is in a side area that was converted. No pews. Full services. Full vigil and if our priest is busy because of work or because of his children which have medical needs he will still have a vesper service that lasts at least an hour and probably an hour and a half with a lives of the Saints homily or other talk or discussion. The Divine Liturgy would last around 3 hours. We sing the hymns in between the beatitudes (like youre supposed to do but nearly no one does), a canon during the preparation before the Eucharist (probably for the reading of names of the departed) always a St John Chrysotom like homily and always very patristic, the 33rd psalm afterwards with the prayers of thanksgiving and some of the canon again and finally the departure. On Holy days like those during lent like the canon of St. Andrew of Crete and other specific days of Holy week we do monastic length services. Not only that but having those services in English whereas usually one can only hear them in Slavonic or Greek(Greek Monastery) so your getting the full service plus all of the edifying and theological content you wouldnt understand and its just incredible. On top of that a lot of our Icons weep and some monastics have sent children to our priest for exorcisms because of his known piety.
Now I am back home and Divine Liturgies are adequate I suppose, some being an hour and some an hour and a half with the ROCOR being two hours(this being more than merely adequate). Nobody but the ROCOR cathedral does the Vigil, and vespers is a wham bam, thank you mam 30 min affair in nearly all of the parishes but one(not including the ROCOR parish of course). It seems as if sometimes the Liturgy is just something to get through, check the box type thing with people more into the coffee hour than the Liturgy. I was the only one to show up for Vespers at the Parish I attended, and 8 maybe 10 showing up for vespers at the Other Church I attend literally a stones throw away, 3 of which are clergy, and 17-20+ for the Vigil at the Parish by the University. There seems to be very little gravity at the services save a few individuals back home, whereas more than not (the guys who show up for the Vigil go figure) takes the Faith seriously at the Church by the School. Its not so bad as say some Greek parishes where its nothing more than a social club, but there is this definite protestant mentality to check the sunday box of worship and then act like the rest of the world afterward.
It seems to me that only the ROCOR cathedral and the parish I attended by the University are the only ones that do stuff right. Im having a hard time even wanting to go to the home parishes. It seems (may the Lord forgive me for saying this) the other parishes lack a measure of grace. It makes me angry and sad at the same time, not to mention somewhat troubled. What should one think of this? Im sure this is just a symptom per se of the great apostasy, and stuff like this happened even in the time of the Apostles as can be noted in Acts and The Revelation of St. John but how does affected worship affect individuals in the church? At times I dont feel Im being transported into the Heavenly realm, it can feel weak or dying or Lord have mercy dead.
Can anyone elaborate and give advice on this.
Thank you, and Glory be to the Holy Trinity unto the ages. Amen.