Thursday, June 15, 2017

Faith of Our Fathers....and Mothers

My faith journey has covered many different trails, but through it all, I have recognized a need for God in my life.  I was baptized a Methodist and grew up attending church and Sunday School each week before going to Grandma's for dinner.  My dad was Sunday School superintendent and my mom was often in charge of summer Vacation Bible School. We sang wonderful hymns embellished by a wonderful pianist who I had the pleasure of taking lessons from, and the minister knew just how to modulate his voice to keep people from falling asleep.  

In fifth grade, we moved to a nearby town where my father had moved from owning a grocery and feed business to owning a grain elevator.  Based on his customers' suggestions, we attended the Lutheran church.  My sister and I went through confirmation and were active in the youth group.  Unfortunately, they asked for money a lot and made comments about how if people couldn't tithe, they should not be there.  That is the memory anyway.  This occurred after my father had a heart attack and money was tight.  Eventually, my family quit attending.    

This could have easily ended my faith journey, but I was involved in another youth group with several of my high school friends.  I have such great memories of the Cherry Box MYF--a Mennonite church youth group.  We sang, prayed, played games, and learned more about the Bible with great enthusiasm.  During church services, the congregation sang four-part acapella and the hymn sings with the two nearby Mennonite churches were some of my favorite times.  It didn't hurt that they also had the cutest boys...haha.  I dated one of the young men in high school, then again in college, so when I had a chance to join the church I was re-baptized to signify my conscious decision to follow Christ since my earlier baptism was as an infant.   

The youth group was very vocal about their disapproval of the Catholic faith, to the point that in college, several of us tried to convert another girl away from Catholicism because it was so "evil."  Her brother was a priest, and years later, I really regret the stress we must have put her through.  When I started teaching and met the man who is now my husband, I told him on our first date that the one thing he could never ask me to do was join the Catholic church.  I eventually asked to attend church with him so I could see him earlier on Saturdays.  This led to many questions, so he suggested I look into the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at a local parish.  

The sponsors of the RCIA classes explained things in a way that I could understand and accept, so Easter 1989 I was confirmed, and marriage preparation classes followed.  Many of the mysteries of the Church still puzzle me, but the history and ritual are very centering and I am continuing to learn and grow in my faith.  That faith helps me understand that some things are just beyond our ability to comprehend.  Future posts will be more about recent readings, music, and experiences, but this varied background was important for me to share.

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