The shepard was missing and, true to form, the flock was scattering. Not leaving, but just wandering . . . confused. Today, the humanity that exists in a church congregation blessed me with a glance inside the gears of organized religion.
Fr. Ed was sick and was unable to appear for mass.
Enter Fr. Mike.
Father Mike is over 80 years old and has leukemia. And I have never seen ANYBODY with more life in them than this man. He is a beautiful vision of compassion, he attends St. Mary’s regularly and today he said the mass. There was no assigned reader, but Elaine quickly assumed the position. She was unable to find the reading since it wasn’t on the right page yet. Gladys jumps in and helps her out.
At one point, Fr. Mike said, “Just pick out any first reading and read that.”
It was comical, and in a way, a complete mess. But they were making an effort. This is probably so much like the early church. And we, in our infinite wisdom (that’s called sarcasm) have evolved it into what it is today. So much ceremony and pagentry. I’m not saying that it’s bad. I’m saying to look beneath it. Amongst all the tradition and fanfare exists someone who is simply trying to make an effort.
Too often people change churches because they don’t like the priest (or pastor, or whatever church leader you may have). Other times it’s a choir leader, or youth minister, or thousands of other things that we can make up so that we don’t have to look at the real problem. Ourselves. The only way we can see real change in the world is to change ourselves. Get involved. Even if all you do is speak to the person(s) you have a problem with about the problem. Remember, they’re just up there trying to make an effort. And you know how easy it is to keep everyone happy. (there’s some more sarcasm for ya)
Try getting involved yourself. Even if all you do is go back to church. Peel your rear off of the couch and go. They’re just people. They’re just trying to do what they’ve been taught to do . . . Celebrate the Life and Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And your missin it.