Independent Baptist; First Baptist (never went to a Second Baptist unfortunately); Seventh Day Adventist, Southern Baptist; Primitive Baptist; Southern Methodist; Evangelical; Bible Baptist; Presbyterian (version A); Presbyterian (version B); Independent (no version); Church of God; Church of Christ; and finally, and last but not least, Catholic.
That is about it. This is the story of my introduction with last group of worshipers on the list.
Going to church is a regular event in most peoples lives. However, some do not go to church and have never desired to do so. I tend to be the intermediate worshiper. My coadjutor's worship had been stymied by my mode of worship, so, on occasion, I set forth to visit the Catholic Church with her. The first visit was a near disaster.
As a young Protestant, I had been warned by my peers about idols and other mysterious phenomenon in the Catholic Church. I was diligent to point out to my wife these idols on my first visit. They all had huts which they resided. Parishioners lit candles for their favorite idol's comfort. I still am processing the whole Saint deal and the praying to Mary. Somehow, I am not sure that she wants all of these prayers. If I were her I would feel like I had a email account with way to much spam. Maybe the Saints help her sort though the whole prayer overload. I have a good bit of studying to do on this matter yet. Anyway, all was fine until it was time to take the Eucharist.
The Eucharist, for those unfamiliar, is the belief that Christ becomes the bread and wine and the believers eat him. I know, it sounds odd at first, but it is symbolic of believers being one with God. Maybe I am not the best person to explain this. Click this link to learn more about Communion. So then, if one is not a believer, or has not made themselves pure, or is not a member (depending on what church you go to), one should not take the Eucharist as it would be an abomination. (This would not be good especially if you are trying to improve your spiritual status in heavens eyes.)
So it was time to do this Eucharist event. We all stood up and readied ourselves. I got the instructions to simply cross my arms to get a blessing. I know! How easy is that?! The priests went to a golden box on the wall and opened it with care. The Priests proceeded to pull out of the golden box the bread and wine resembling the body of Christ. The aforementioned box just happened to look like a real fancy microwave; that thought stuck with me for some odd reason. Later that week when I tried to describe my viewing of this event, in my broken Spanglish, to my Hispanic Catholic cooks at work, it came out as "..and they took Jesus out of the Microwave". They ridiculed me often for this description.
We got in line (This always requires complicated hand gestures.) and proceeded toward the Priest who was delivering the Eucharist. Then it was my turn, and I froze, with a blank mind. This caused a mild traffic jam. I looked at the Priest. The Priest looked at me. I looked at the Priest with raised eyebrows. He looked back with eyebrows raised higher than mine. Then sensing my ignorance and utter failure, my wife poked her head around me and blurted out for God and Country to hear "HE'S NOT CATHOLIC!" That felt worse than having to stand up if front of everyone at the First Baptist Church because you were a visitor.
I got my blessing. However, I feel that it was instantly used up due to the stress of the whole event.
Stand up; pray; sit down; read Scripture; listen to song; sing back; listen to song; sing back; listen to song; sing back; stand up; and repeat. This is the basic pattern of worship. There is also the activity of the lighting of candles, toting of the oversize Bible, and the flipping of the pointy hat back onto the Priest's head. I have not figured out what the golden curly topped staffs that the Priests carry are used for yet. Catholics do not post numbers either. Some churches post member numbers, hymn numbers, attendee numbers, missionary numbers, etc.. I think Catholics let God worry about who goes to church and how much money they give. That, and I think that they must have old money.
|The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine / The First Parish|
Go to church, and thanks for reading,