Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This Is My Story Part 2

I should mention that there were other factors contributing to my journey as well. First, there was a desire to study worship. As Pentecostals we were known for worship. That is, we had exciting times of singing and preaching. But I knew worship needed to be much more than that. My discovery of early Christianity gave me some insight into early Christian worship. I quickly found that it was not the "free church" model that I had always experienced. It was liturgical. I had always thought that the Church began with free, spontaneous, Spirit-led worship like we had only to degenerate into liturgy by the end of the first century or so. But second century worship shed a lot of light on New Testament worship. It was clearly liturgical. Suddenly a lot of passages of Scripture came alive as I realized they were liturgical references (this is especially true of books like Hebrews or Revelation).

A second influence was the Catholic Catechism. I lived in a very Catholic city. I felt that in order to reach the people I would need to "expose the errors" of Catholicism. To do that I wanted to use Catholic material. So I purchased a book by Pope John Paul II and the Catechism.

I remember one afternoon reading through an extended portion of the Catechism on the Creed. Everything flowed together so beautifully. I read for about 2 hours. When I was finished I sat back and thought, "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever read." I was shocked by my own reaction. It wasn't supposed to go that way. But I couldn't help it. Everything was so well thought out and explained so clearly. We had nothing that profound. I wanted something like that.

All of these things were coming together to create in me a longing for something far beyond myself and my experience. I began to study much more. I got more books and read a lot on-line as well.

During this time we had an occasion to visit a Catholic Church for their Vigil Mass on Saturday evening. I had mixed feelings about going. I thought the worship would be dead and I almost wondered if we would somehow be sinning by going. But I also wanted to see what it was all about.

As the Mass began I quickly realized that these people were acting out what Justin Martyr had written about in his First Apology. I was seeing second century worship unfold before my eyes. I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, they're still doing it!" I had no idea. I was enthralled. But as I looked around, most of the home folk didn't seem as thrilled about it as I was. I thought to myself, "They don't know what they're doing- they don't realize what they have!" But I was hooked. I had seen something that I thought was lost. Now I wanted to know how I could have a part in it.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree. I have a similar background. To me, worship in the Catholic Church is like a beautiful expression of art for God. Though I experienced a feeling of worship in the Protestant Pentecostal church, I also experienced much that was "about me" and how I felt. I loved our priest's homily this past Sunday in which he stated that worship isn't about how we feel.

joni said...

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, as I read through this. I know we have made this journey together, and I've lived it all with you. But somehow, reading this, and remembering...makes me even more thankful for the place God has brought us to.

Thank you...

Anonymous said...

And now I want to read Part 3,.. and part 4...!

J. said...

Keith, Yes the Holy Spirit also directed me to Hebrews. The scriptures I had read a million times and heard a million sermons never fully explained how he is my brother through his mother, how he is proud of his human family and boasts about us to our Father. How we can fully share in his sufferings, how he learned obedience through things which he suffered. I never fully grasped these issues, until now. I never fully understood that he died not to apease God but to break the power of death by defeating death! And I really am bound for eternal life as I entrust myself to his divine mercy! He is my brother, we have the same Father, and Mary is our mother because she is his mother. I have had to study to learn about the Mass and you are right, most folks are clueless as to what they are doing during the celebration. I am excited about your switch and about my new faith also. I only confessed during this past Lent Season. It sounds like you have been doing much studying. Send me your reading list, :).
Judy Williford

Keith said...

Judy, I haven't looked at my own blog for quite some time. I just read your comment today. If you are seeing this, email me at keith2stuff@catholic.org. I can give you some resources I have found helpful. Blessings!