Karen Anderson, a visitor to this blog spot, offered a guest post that I feel can be helpful to some of you who struggle with public worship on the Lord’s Day. Since today is the first day of the week, the time when Christians routinely gather to remember their resurrected Lord in corporate worship, Karen’s words have particular meaning for some readers on this day. While I do not agree with everything Karen writes I believe the value of “hearing” her voice outweighs the perspective that only my voice should be heard on this site. Here is Karen’s story:
I was born and raised a Catholic; I went to schools that were Catholic and so, that is the only way I know how to worship and pray. And until a certain age, I had no idea that Christianity was a broad umbrella which encompassed various forms of worshipping Christ. It was only when I moved out of my small hometown and went to college that my experiences broadened, and with this new awakening, I discovered that although the God we all worshipped was one and the same, the manner in which each Christian worshipped him was very different.
For a while, it bothered me that I could not find a Catholic church nearby where I could at least attend Sunday mass. I was not comfortable at the local church because their ways of worship seemed strange to me. Also, since I didn’t know anyone personally, I found it hard to fit in. But then, as I sat with my Bible in my room one day and looked to God for a solution, I realized that the best way to cope with changing forms of worship was to:
· Be yourself: I am a Catholic and proud to be one. I don’t need to change my faith in order to worship Christ the way I know. So if going to the local church made me uncomfortable, I chose not to go. Instead, I would kneel down in my room and spend an hour or so of quiet time with Jesus. To me, these times were infinitely precious and more soul-stirring than any service I could have attended.
· Do your own thing: I also made the effort to widen my search and scout out locals who were Catholic. They were few and far between, but I did manage to befriend a few families who invited me to worship with them whenever time permitted. So we would have services at their home or travel together to the next town for the Sabbath service. This allowed me to do my own thing without feeling guilty that I wasn’t going to church.
· Know what you want: And finally, when you know what you want out of prayer and church, it’s easy enough to find a way to worship. So if it’s mental peace you’re looking for, it’s enough if you pray from wherever you are. But if it’s the camaraderie and combined worship you’re looking for, then be prepared to find a church you’re comfortable with and visit once in a while.