As far as churches with websites go, this was the last church visit for us in our town. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were home churches or smaller church meetings happening in our area that we don’t know about, but the Catholic Church was the last one on our list of the eight mainline churches within our city limits. In addition to these eight, we’ve also visited three in neighboring towns and have a couple more that we would like to attend on our search for a new church home.
My dad grew up Roman Catholic, but he left the Catholic church before I was born. I’ve been to many Catholic weddings, as well as Christenings and funerals for members on that side of our family. So there’s something both familiar and foreign to me about Catholic services. At the same time, they draw me in and make me hesitate. The Catholic Church in our town is prominently located and well-attended. There must have been a couple hundred people in the service we attended, which was one of four Sunday mornings masses. It’s a beautiful church, with high ceilings, tall stained glass windows, and blue and gold accents.
The worship music was beautiful– just acoustic guitars and simple piano music. I loved it. Most of the churches we’ve visited have had either organ music or a full worship band with drums, keyboards, and electric guitars. We followed along with the liturgy. We stood, we sat, we kneeled. We prayed and sang and listened to the scriptures. We didn’t take communion, because I know that in the Catholic church, Holy Communion is a sacred sacrament reserved for those who practice the Catholic faith, believe in transubstantiation, and have followed the other sacraments and traditions such as confession.
It was a beautiful service and I’m glad we were there. I’m glad we are getting the opportunity to see other Christians live their faith and worship and support each other. And although I don’t really think Chad and I will convert to Catholicism, I love the tradition and history and meaning that exists in that church.
In my own humble opinion, the evangelical churches that I’ve attended are missing out on some of the sacredness of our faith. While there is a lot of joy and celebration and worship, I sometimes miss the sacredness, the reverence and the “bigness” of God. There’s so much emphasis on the “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ, that I think sometimes we neglect the holiness and authority. I think the personal, connected-to-Jesus aspect of my faith is very important, but I also think it’s important to remember our God is mighty and holy. I know many who criticize the rituals and rules of the Catholic faith, and I agree that those rules sometimes keep people from connecting with God, but I also see their purpose in keeping holy what is holy, in reminding us to pay the respect that is due to God, and to humble us in his presence. And I feel that humility in the Catholic church. I feel my smallness in comparison to God’s greatness, and that reminds me of how meaningful it was for Jesus, fully human and fully God, to die for us.