I am a practicing Catholic married to a man who loves God but never felt a call to make it official, or demonstrate that love by joining a church.
So Sunday mornings for me there has been a pull. A pull to be at home and a pull to bring our two kids to Sunday school. They feel the pull as well. They ask to go to church but they also want to be home with their daddy. In order to seek balance in this pull we alternate between going to church some Sundays and staying home on others. We either create church in the living room or go for a family walk. For me being out in nature, walking with my family, ideal church indeed.
This pull I speak of also comes from not getting everything I need in one place. The church we attend is truly my family, the folks there have helped my faith deepen and have expanded my awareness. Lately part of what I have been seeking, a nugget I can chew on for the week that can deepen my relationship with God, has been lacking.
Three weeks ago I got my nugget and then I got spun around. I had the honor of attending the ordination of the first Washington State woman priest. Yep, you heard me correctly. The RCWP (Roman Catholic Women Priests) is a bonafide group, of course not approved of by the Pope sitting in the Vatican. I have attended Catholic Church in different countries around the world, in different environments, but never before by a female bishop. When I walked up to receive communion the female Catholic Bishop from San Diego looked me in the eyes and when she said, “The Body of Christ,” I felt her words in my tears and deep in my heart. The feminine side of God was what I was lacking, was what I was hungry for, deep in my bones. She invited the entire congregation to say the blessing of the bread. The inclusiveness warmed me, made me feel at home. It wasn’t a them vs. us. The circle was wide and loving and I wasn’t on the outside. My faith restored in this Catholic Tradition, with a new face.
I love the tradition and ritual the Catholic mass provides. I find solace and comfort in this one expression of my relationship with God. And to discover that I really experience its beauty with women on the altar and in leading roles gives me hope. For that is what church should provide, no matter if it is church riding your bicycle, swimming with dolphins, around the coffee table, in a building or on a mountain. Church should offer hope in all that can be, in all that is.
by J.G. McGlothern