How much time do we spend in our vehicles? Is this time somehow part of our life as Orthodox Christians? For those who spend any amount of time in transit, the precious moments in our vehicles can become a time when we can say the Jesus Prayer, listen to recordings of prayers, services, hymns, and spiritual writings and talks, and bless those we encounter as we travel.
Like every other part of life, the Church provides prayers to be said as we start on a journey, as well as prayers to bless our vehicles, just as we bless our homes for our safety and salvation. It makes a great deal of sense that we should bless our vehicles, and our parish will on Sunday, August 7th, follow the custom used in many places of blessing vehicles in conjunction with the feast of the Prophet Elias (Elijah), celebrated during the previous week.
As we read in the Second Book of Kings, the Prophet Elias was taken up to heaven in a vehicle - a chariot of fire - becoming a rare example of an individual who would not experience physical death. Thus, the Lord provides a blessed vehicle as a sign of His blessing, and a means of translation unto Life Eternal. Just as the Lord blessed this vehicle for Elias’ life, we will also gather following the Divine Liturgy to bless our vehicles on this afterfeast.
* * *
DID YOU KNOW Saint Nicholas of Myra has long been seen as the most widely recognized saint of travellers? During his life, Saint Nicholas took special care for safeguarding the travels of seafarers by his prayers. The literary image of "Saint Nick" in a flying sleigh is a peculiar secular tribute to the concern of this saint for all those who travel.