Wednesday nights have been my night out lately, and tonight I went to Mass since it is a "Holy Day of Obligation" (frankly, I think that's a funny term). I wish Kevin could have been with me, since he's been wanting to see inside the "old building" at our church and tonight's service was held there. It is humble and holy and historical.
For the record, this entry is more of a personal journal entry that probably won't contribute to anyone's understanding of my Catholic journey, but it will confirm that I need Jesus - and I'm so glad I know him. Praise be to God, if ya wanna get all official sounding.
We are in a parish that is a large part Mexican. Tonight's service was bilingual. I delight in that, to some extent. I really feel bummed when I sit in an all-white, all middle-class congregation. It seems lacking. The few times I've been in more diverse congregations, it presents a bit of a foreshadowing of Revelation 7:9, "After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands." Tonight was diverse. I can't remember the last time I sat in a bilingual service. (Okay, I can - but I was in Guatemala - one expects it.) In addition, there were very young children and people so old they could barely walk. Furthermore, the economic diversity was astounding. There was a white-haired distinguished-looking gent in front of me who was wearing a watch that may have cost more than my car. Immediately to my left was a woman who more resembled my image of a homeless person. In the back I saw a Mexican woman draped in black lace. Lord forgive me but she looked like an extra in the opening scene of the movie "Tombstone". I'm such a sheltered white girly-girl, I swear. And the whole experience was convicting. 'Specially for this chica who still struggles with putting on appearances and being good to get to Jesus. Can you believe, ladies and gentlemen, that the woman seated next to me smelled like smoke? You can't be a Christian and smoke, for crying out loud! And if you insist on such a nasty addiction, at least hide that you do it so that you can appear to be holy for the sake of the goody-goody former Baptist sitting in the pew next to you on All Saints Day! I know I'm being a little hard on myself, but for good reason. We all gather together to worship the Lord of heaven and earth and etc. - smokers and Mexicans and judgmental white girls. And I'm betting he's still glorified - even by those who smell like smoke.
Done. I'm glad I went. I'm glad the woman next to me came, too.
Now... in honor of the day, in honor of All Saints --- a hymn I LOVE. If I hum the music to myself I can conjure up a memory of singing it at InterVarsity's Urbana Missions Conference. And I can hear 17,000 voices and the amazing worship team and all the powerful, powerful music. And then, more than ever since, I really believed they could hear us.
For all the Saints
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
I have tears in my eyes when I sing the Alleluias. Because they're beautiful. And because of that memory of singing in the company of so many others- dead and alive, I daresay.