Last night Tamaz, Eka and I, along with Eka's friend Nino went to Sameba (Trinity Cathedral) in Old Tbilisi. The decision to go had stemmed from a lunchtime discussion in which they asked me if I was bored. I begrudgingly admitted that I was getting a little tired of just sitting around the house (which was, of course communicated by the only Georgian word I knew to convey that particular feeling...tsota...a little). And so it was decided that we should all go to Sameba that evening.
Nino was feeling sick all day so she stayed at home and as we took off I began to wonder how this excursion would go with just the three of us. My fears of what I would do if I had a question were soon put to rest when I saw that we were stopping to pick up Eka's friend, Nino. She's an English teacher at another school and so with my translator in tow, we were off.
The only downside of this outing was that Eka was getting another driving lesson in the process. I honestly think it would be better if Tamaz didn't bother. When he isn't grabbing the wheel, he's yelling and it's all very disconcerting. It reminds me of my first few times behind the wheel. My stomach was in knots the whole way there and back.
That being said the journey was well worth it when we arrived at our destination. Like everything else I've come across here, the Georgians are incredibly proud of their cathedral, though I was surprised to find out that it was only 6 years old. It sits perched atop a hill in the center of the city and is surrounded by beautiful grounds and fountains. It was such a peaceful enclave in the center of an otherwise busy and run down part of town. We passed through the main gate of the fortress like wall that surrounds it and strolled through the gardens before climbing the stairs that led to the cathedral itself.
It was stunning, especially at that time of the evening. When we went inside they were having Saturday night mass. It was unlike any mass I've ever seen. There were just groups of people crowding around priests, who were scattered randomly throughout the church. They were all performing different acts, some were blessing people with oil, others were praying, some were speaking and all the time I could hear chanting coming from somewhere within the cathedral. I don't know if it was the beginning, middle or end of service but I thought it was almost fitting that worship appeared as chaotic as the rest of life seems to be here in Tbilisi.
As we made our way out of the church through the silent corridors of the underground chapels I marveled at how remarkable and varied are the ways in which God's glory is proclaimed. Sometimes it's heralded from the hilltops from great cathedrals and sometimes its silently professed in prayer but his presence in all is undeniable.