When I started, re-started, and again began contemplations and digging into the Christian life, as concerned prayer, worship, mediation, reading and learning from what was read, and also practicing those lessons, it was a pursuit eagerly worked on. I bought books, learned prayers, bought music, tried my hardest to particiate at mass and take part in other activities.
Yet something still did not seem right. There was a feeling of fragmented prayer, of memorized prayer, of being tested constantly, of something being wrong with the way I conducted that spiritual element, worked with building a spiritual life, and thought about religion.
Negative press in this country about the Church has not helped one bit. Priests are convicted, de-frocked, accused of sexual exploitation; the highers-up in the Church are thought of as hiding the facts, of essentially taking part in the goings-on because of not reporting it or keeping on the priests who did the dastardly deeds. Listen to enough of that and one might be inclined to forsake religion and going to church all together.
But then, it is only a few people who have taken part in such things, we can hope. There are good priests out there, good officials who try their best to conduct their lives in a really Christian manner, doing no harm to others and showing respect for everybody.
It is plain to say then that Christianity is not an “I” religion. It is not for the selfish at heart, for those who think only of themselves, how they look, how they dress or their place in society to the overlooking of others. No, these types belong by themselves so they can admire their reflections in the mirrors of their own pride and arrogance.
Christianity, as I was reminded this morning, is a gathering of people for the learning of ways to glorify the Lord, God of Heaven and Earth. We assemble in congregations, a most important point to remember. It is vital to think of our way of life not as a religion so much- not as a set of rules and regulations and fine points that make glorifying God and enjoying our redemption difficult.
We are a special group, we come together to learn, to hear sermons, to partake of communion, to share stories, sing and chant, but not to the uplift and glorification of human ways and means. We are not there to show off our most glorious outfits at Easter and Christmas; we are not there to keep our cell phones on and disrupt the services, and we are not there to show off the new car, the new jewelry or the new fur coat.
No, my friends, the mission control religion has nothing to do with such artificial and separatist, elitist thinking. Mission Control involves basic ways of behaving, such as respecting others, being accountable, listening to what is going on in order to complete a plan or bring a task to success, staying calm under pressure, performing community service, and realizing how important it is to take notice of every person in the group.
When you are at mass, you are one part of a larger body, a family of millions all over the world who worship, read Scripture, take Communion and gather to listen to sermons and pray Psalms and sing hymns. It is that aspect that is the most important thing to remember when considering the spiritual life and practicing it, inside of the church building or outside of the church service.
The less of certain things we have on our minds the better we will be. More on those observations in the next article.
Divi Logan and EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2004 – 2012.