Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Reasons I Go to Church on Sunday
This picture is an actual picture my Church in the winter that I found on the internet today.
I know. It is Tuesday. By my own scheduling, I should have wrote something funny yesterday for Life is Funny, and something I learned today for What I Learned. But I didn't. I like these blog carnivals, and hope to return to them at the end of the week. They help me focus on a blog topic. But for the last couple of Sundays, I found myself thinking about the reasons I go to Church, and I feel moved to share them. You see, I am sure I hate to get up on a Sunday morning as much as anyone else. And God, who knows all, knows I am not holier than anyone else. So why don't I sleep in? Why not snuggle up with Bob, since sometimes he works on Saturday, or I teach CCD on Saturday? It is definitely all I really want to do when I wake up at 7:00 Sunday morning. Why not do it?
Because it wouldn't actually make me happy. Really. It feels like it would at 7:00 a.m. (I know, not terribly early, but come on...SUNDAY...it might as well be 5:00 a.m. ) But it wouldn't. Going to Church on Sunday is important to me. Why?
1) The Lord commanded us to keep the Sabbath day holy. That I must do, because God Himself says he wants that of me. I know, there are many ways people choose to do that. I don't actually doubt the validity of many of them, so long as the intent and purpose is to obey God. But the Church I choose to belong to , the Roman Catholic Church, says a Catholic MUST go to Mass every Sunday as part of keeping holy the Sabbath day. Why would I choose to be a member of any Church or organization, but then also choose to flout its rules? If I join a club, I go to every meeting and follow the rubrics. It was my own choice to belong. The same with Church. No one forced me to be Catholic. I chose it. So I must also choose to follow its rules as to how to keep holy the Sabbath day.
2) I believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Transubstantiation. I believe I am receiving Jesus's actual Body and Blood in Holy Communion, just as He offered at the Last Supper, and told the apostles to continue. Why would I skip Mass if I believe I am going to receive Jesus? That wouldn't make any sense.
3) Once I get to Church, I see people I know in the parking lot and vestibule. I also see people I know after Mass. Since teaching CCD and joining the Italian Catholic Federation, it seems that I know lots of people. I like having friends and Church, and touching base with them weekly, and being supported and encouraged by them. I also like knowing people I see because it has helped me be less judgemental.
For example, on Mother's Day, one of the ushers wished me a Happy Mother's Day. Some of you know how desperately I have wanted children, and can imagine how bitter I feel when someone wishes me a Happy Mother's Day, and I can't have kids. But the man who wished it to me was a sweet little old man I know from ICF...not well enough that he knows my story, or even remembers that I am childless. Just well enough to know that we both mean well, and would never purposely hurt the other. I knew it would hurt him to know that those words stabbed and twisted in my heart, and I like him too well to do that. I chose to confuse him by smiling, and wishing him a Happy Mother's Day as well, which seemed every bit as appropriate as wishing it to a childless woman....At one time, I don't think I would have been purposely rude to him, but I would have said I am not a mother, and been obviously upset by it. I would have gone home seething that the ushers should know better than to generically wish women without children or corsages in Church a Happy Mother's Day. This time I left chuckling. Poor man. Wondering why I wished him a Happy Mother's Day...
4) I love to sing the hymns at Church. Most of the time, it doesn't really matter which hymn. I say most of the time because I don't like it when the age old words are changed to make them more inclusive. I think we should increase our understanding to be inclusive, not change the words. For instance, "Pleased as man with man to dwell" in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing gets changed to "Pleased as us with us to dwell" every Christmas. There are other songs, but I am not sure you would recognize them as well. I like singing the hymns the way I know it. Also, it drives me crazy when we skip my favorite verse in a song due to time constraints.
That happens to the last stanza of Amazing Grace all the time. I know that it wasn't actually in the original, but still, it is a beautiful thought that reminds me that we are doing now what we will be doing joyfully one day in heaven: Singing praise to Him who we could not help but praise if only we know Him. And I love being reminded of that...
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining like the sun,
We've no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
Still, inclusivity and watching out for time constraints pleases some. It can't be all about me. It's Church. It ought to be all about Him, and I am not sure He cares one way or the other. I usually just add the last verse in my head anyways. As for inclusivity in hymns, unfortunately I know most of them and choose not to use the missellette to follow most of the time, so I end up singing it the old way anyway. I know. Someone ought to be blogging about me and how I mess up the hymns at Church every once in a while. Maybe they do....
5) The sermon. It is good to hear the priest's thoughts on the bible passages we read and listen to. Different priests have different styles. Father Andrew is profound in his simplicity. Father Ron is often brilliant, as is Father William. Father Ted can use the word to admonish us to be better, as well we should sometimes. I need this. I need to hear the thoughts of someone else on scripture, someone more learned and dedicated. It is good for me.
6) Bob would not stay and snuggle with me anyways. He loves going to Church on Sunday. He would leave me home alone under the covers. Then what would even be the point of staying home, am I right people?
Yes. Sometimes we go to Mass on Saturday evening instead. But even when we don't, and go on Sunday, it is SO worth it!
Please feel free to share in the comment section how you choose to keep the Sabbath holy.