I’ve being struggling with church attendance. Initially, I felt guilty. I was so guilt ridden I started to think I was bound for hell if I continued to avoid church.
Growing up, church attendance was absolutely important. The only time we won’t go is when on admission in the hospital. In fact after secondary school while i waited for my WASSCE and jamb result church became an everyday activity.
Hence, I got used to beliving that in order to make heaven the first and perhaps one of the most important factor is church attendance. My struggle in the last few weeks has being real. My mind felt like a battle ground.
Sometimes, the good wins and i go to church. Emotionally I’m happy but deep inside I start to wonder if I went to mass just to fulfill an emotional need or if I thought it really important to attend.
Eventually, I resolved to stay away from church until I found the source to this inner battle. Wage my wars and come out with a decision. The last few weeks has been interesting. I’ve not attended mass, but I’ve made note to watch and follow at least one mass on TV.
On Sunday (I wanted to go to mass for thanksgiving but didn’t ), I had watched mass on TV and gone on with my day. But it dawned on me. I really listened to what the priest was saying without biase, without anxiety.
I was at peace, I was in the right disposition to listen to God’s word, take notes and even remind myself that God is my everything.
That’s when I found it. The main put off I’ve had in weeks about going to church had nothing to do with my relationship with God. I still prayed fervently more than once a day. I still read the bible at free time and did devotions. I still said my Catholic prayers and followed bible study plans.
What I found unsettlingly was the way and manner money is raised in the church. We believe to stay close to God we need to give our substance so we can get answers to our prayers. The priest stands on the alter issuing subtle threats and causes on anyone who dears not contribute his substance.
Sitting on the pew while everyone goes for offering makes other Church members look at you funny . There is the body language that screams You Rebel!
What about the time we spend? I came to note that liturgy of the word and holy Eucharist lasts about thirty minutes (when the priest does not overly stretch the liturgy of the word) then we spend the remaining two and half or three hours raising money for one project or another.
In fact during harvest season we think it more important to launch and make money for the harvest than the liturgy of the word and holy Eucharist which is the foundation and crux on our coming together. The word is rushed sometimes. Skipping the preaching aspect altogether is considered prudent in some cases to allow more time to “raise” money for harvest.
What are we really doing? I’ve attended churches that holds 1hour masses on Sundays and everything is Incorporated. The preaching is concised and effective. I was better for it.
And I’ve attended churches (most common group) where the mass lasted and average of 31/2 hours with preaching too long that majority are sleeping or skipped altogether to raise money. Majorly, I discovered that only Dominican priests took not wasting time seriously around here and truly considered spiritual growth of their congregation more important than raising more. Unfortunately only few of those parishes exists. Many of the rest are no better than the pentecostal churches they enjoy condemning.
Now I know what I didn’t agree with. I know why I started hating going to church. I’d love to go back to attending church regularly on Sundays but I’m unsure of what how to achieve this without feeling I’m going for a fund raiser instead of the gathering of brethren…