Written by Sherry
Saturday, 02 January 2010 08:12
Read the whole of this wonderful (and funny!) story of a completely unchurched woman's (who calls herself Robin of Berkley) first experience of a Catholic church on Christmas Eve. Even though I grew up on the far side of the religious universe, her description of the first time rings so many bells. Courtesy of the American Thinker\.
"In the bathroom, a woman smiled and introduced herself as Cathy (everyone was so nice and friendly, a radical departure from typical Berkeley life). She asked me whether the other priest was feeling better. The following conversation ensued:
Me: I don't know. I've never been to this church before.
Cathy: Oh, really? Where do you usually worship?
Me (stammering) Well. Actually. I've never been to a church before.
Cathy: (puzzled) Oh. Are you here to see one of the children perform?
Me: No. (I want to give her a clear explanation, but given that I don't know why I'm here, my mind goes blank.)
Cathy: (thinking deeply) So, you've never been in a church but decided to come here on Christmas Eve.
Me: Yes. (Her explanation was simpler than the one I would have given: "I'm a cultural Jew who's never been to a temple and then I practiced Buddhism for twenty years, but that left out the God part. And then I became a conservative and now I have all these beautiful Christians in my life, so I decided to attend a mass, and the Berkeley Episcopalians didn't want me, so here I am.")
Cathy looked at me strangely, but finally uttered an enthusiastic "Good!"
LOL! Oh those tortuous explanations to kindly Catholics who look at you with stunned incomprehension. You mean, you haven't been doing this all your life?
Now think of those thousands of Catholics and spiritual wanderers responding to the Catholics Come Home ad that are filling the airwaves. We can do better than stunned incomprehension. We don't live in a ghetto anymore and millions of people all over the world are making this journey. How about we start thinking of ourselves as friendly tour guides for inquirers?
Robin ends her tale this way:
"Beyond the music and pageantry, what moved me the most was being with hundreds of people who loved God. Maybe some were questioning his presence or feeling abandoned. But they showed up, and that's half of life.
It was a stirring night for this wandering Jew who has traveled from east to west, from Left to Right. As the Sufi poet Hafiz wrote, "This moment in time God has carved a place for you," and sitting in the sanctuary, I felt that place.
Even though I didn't know the right words, or the hymns, or how to pray, it didn't matter. All the differences among people -- race, class, politics, even religion -- vanished. Faith, I realized, is the ultimate uniter.
And in a heartbeat, I understood why leaders from Marx to Mao try to keep people away from God, and why they will always fail. I flashed to an image of those mothers who somehow find the superhuman strength to lift up a car and free their children.
On Christmas Eve, I learned that this same unstoppable power exists inside all of us, especially when we stand together. As Jesus himself taught, faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain."
Welcome Robin. God has carved a place for you - and me - and many, many other seekers.