The Church of England
Mother and daughter were in the states “on holiday” from England. As we talked about church and God, they gave their intellectual opinions. They both believed in God and Jesus. They don’t go to church often, only for special occasions. The mother said, “I suppose it is good for some people but we have never been that devout.”
The daughter said, “I went to a Christian School associated with The Church of England. They taught me about God. I don’t go to church because I was never taught to. I think He helps me but when things don’t go right, I can’t blame Him. I must make my own way.”
As we talked, I discovered the mother was a widow. Ten years before, on their 25th anniversary trip, her forty-four year old husband had an epileptic seizure, fell into a pool, and drowned. “I’m used to it now but it was hard in the beginning. It was harder on my daughter because she didn’t get to say goodbye.”
She paused for a moment and started talking again with a trembling voice. “Now that I think about it, when he died, I turned to the church that ran my daughter’s school. They came to me immediately and took care of us. The church members came to his funeral. A minister came out of retirement just to minister to us.”
Two of our dinner companions on the cruise are Quakers. The woman reported, “I love my church. We meet in ‘Meeting Houses.’ Some Quakers are programmed and some non-programmed. Ours is programmed.”
“What is the difference?” I asked.
“It means we have a full time minister. I think what I love most about the Quakers is the silence. We are often silent until someone feels led to speak. It is through silence that I hear the voice of God. Silence teaches communication. Teaching is important but silence is how I become intimate with God. The silence is why I stay in the Quaker church.”
Another dinner companion is Catholic. She told me, “I left the Catholic Church for a while and got caught up in a “born again” Pentecostal movement. I started believing I wasn’t a Christian if I was a Catholic. Then I realized that I loved being Catholic. I missed the Eucharist every Sunday. I knew my Christianity was just as real in the Catholic church as in the Pentecostal church. I love entering the Catholic church in silence and feeling the presence of God. I love the holiness of the Catholic church. It is comforting to me to trust the authority of the Pope. Sometimes I go to church and sit for an hour, praying.”
“If you joined a Pentecostal church, you probably began speaking in tongues. Do you still?” I wondered aloud.
“Sometimes. The Pentecostal church did help me to discover that gift. I also learned how to use my gift of prophesy, which I now use in the Catholic Church.”
“It sounds like you have fallen in love with your church,” I said.
She beamed. “I had to leave it to learn how much I loved it.”
Two women, both widows, were traveling together. They worship in the same Baptist church in Indiana. One bragged, “Two years ago, we had fifty members. Now we have 250 members. We just recently baptized 35 people, all new Christians. What makes our church so wonderful is our crazy pastor. He is so much fun. Sometimes I think people come to see what he is going to do next. Everyone loves him. He always preaches the Word of God and never goes off on tangents.”
I sat next to a Lutheran on my tour bus. “I used to be active in my church but now I’m too old and I have bad knees. I go every Sunday but can’t help any more. I miss it.”
“I’ve never been to a Lutheran service,” I told her. “Do you enjoy your church?”
“I love my church. What I love most about Lutheran churches is how ornate they are. Other churches are so plain. My church has a statue of Jesus with outstretched arms. When I look at it, I feel like He is waiting for me with open arms. It gives me such comfort.”
Two sisters-in-laws sat in the lobby of our hotel having breakfast. They were married to brothers, who are both deceased. They take vacations together. I noticed them immediately because of the combination of their elegant dress and the peaceful and serene look on both smiling faces. “I’ve been in church all of my life,” one told me. “I was baptized at twelve but I think I’ve always been a Christian. I never knew any other way.”
The other woman smiled, “When you grow up in a loving church, you only know how to live the right way. You don’t have to make all of the mistakes that so many people make because the church teaches us how to live. Church is why we’ve had such happy lives.”
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." NASU