I have written more than once about needing a place to worship, but that I am frustrated with the Catholic Church. I love my church. The beauty of the architecture, the music and the familiarity are just a few of the things I love about it. I have received five of the seven sacraments there. My mother was buried there. Her funeral, despite being the saddest day of my life, was also one of the most moving and beautiful because of that church. Yet, so many of my beliefs don’t conform with those of the Catholic Church. I feel hypocritical some days even being there. I used to go to mass weekly but have found myself going less and less.
Today, with the encouragement of a friend, I attended services at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church. I have been contemplating going for many years. Even when I taught preschool there, more than 10 years ago, but I am such a creature of habit, I never got the courage to try something different. It took me a few weeks and several conversations with this friend, to work up the courage to just try it.
I am so glad I did. I saw so many familiar faces and the welcome could not have been any warmer. From the woman who greeted me at the door, to the smiling faces sitting all around me. There were so many similarities to the Catholic Mass. I knew the songs and the prayers. Although, quite different was when they sang a song by The Black Eyed Peas during the service! “Where is the Love.” Which fit in perfectly with the sermon,that didn’t feel like a lecture but more of a story of how we can live our lives in a positive way.
One of my students from last year happened to walk by and see me and ask if she could sit with me. Of course I said yes. She and her uncle sat beside me and I told them it was my first time and asked her if she’d show me what I needed to do. She giggled and said yes. Before the service there had been a children’s class and she had created a crown. During the service she was writing on it and at one point she turned to me and gave it to me. It said, “Kindis Tchr” her translation, “Kindness Teacher.” Of course, being the sappy person I am, I got a bit weepy. She told me to keep it and wear it around.
I often write about “signs” and taking them as messages. “God Wings” Dave calls them because they are messages from God letting us know that he is watching over us and sending us little signs. Seeing my sweet student was the first one. At one point they sang, Eagle’s Wings, which I am almost sure was sung at my mom’s funeral. More weepiness.
Today is not the day I will make my final decision. I will go back and see if I find it as wonderful as I did today. Will I stop going to my Catholic Church? Probably not yet. Will I try something else? Maybe. I just want a peaceful place that I can go to worship and pray when I need to. A place that is warm, inviting, diverse and inclusive. A place where everyone is welcome.