Stripped

7:47 AM Edit This 16 Comments »
Okay heathens, I'm going to get all church-y on you. Leave if you must.

It's Holy Week. I've largely ignored Lent. All the givingupedness makes me a little irritated. Most people give stuff up for Lent to gain something for themselves. Giving up chocolate - hoping I lose weight. Giving up drinking - here's hoping against hope I'm not an alcoholic. Or some such nonesense. I don't think I've ever truly given up anything for Lent. I was always too bitter.

Having worked for the church for 10 years, I developed Easter anxiety every year. I hated it. Despised it in fact. The best part of the church year, and I couldn't find any place in my heart to tolerate it. Lent meant no confirmation classes. *whew* But it also meant summer was coming and I better have my ducks in a row for summer camp and the youth trips on the horizon. It was kind of the last push for fundraising and the end of the school year meant a lot of stressed out kids making really poor decisions. Holy Week? Church after church after church after church service. And Easter morning? Whoever decided that worldwide - the YOUTH should host an Easter Breakfast as a fundraiser needs to be shot. Egg bake? Donuts? Orange juice and milk? Gah. Yuck. I hope never to eat Egg Bake ever again. I can make it in my sleep. And in fact, many times did. Three in the morning at the church, cursing the huge gas ovens for not heating evenly. I hated it. HATED. IT.

But Holy Thursday. Holds a place in my heart. The quietness of the service. The stripping of the altar? It meant something to me. It meant the pretense of the show was over. And I'm all about limiting pretense. Suddenly the church wasn't all bells and whistles and pretty linens, lively songs and welcoming smiles. It was the reality of why we go to church in the first place. And it was my respite during my season of hate. I'm going to church tonight. It's been three years since I've been, but I have it in my head that I want to experience it once again. I have no idea what possessed me, but my head tells me to go and I'm going to follow it today.

16 comments:

buffalodick said...

Even Protestants have a Thursday service...

BrianAlt said...

I'm a Jew.

Zisen Pesach!

Jeff D'Antonio said...

I've never been a big fan of organized religion. I believe in God, and I talk to him in my own way. I don't need a church to tell me what to say. I own a Bible, and I have read some of it. I don't need a church to tell me what it means. I pray when I have a good reason to. I don't need a church to tell me how and when to pray. I was raised Catholic. I can talk to God directly about my sins, I don't need to go and sit in a little booth and tell a priest about them. I can recite the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, and all those other canned prayers in my sleep, but they don't mean anything to me. What matters is how I maintain my relationship with God. In my own words. In my own heart.

Still, Easter is the holiest of Holy days. The entire foundation of the Christian church is the belief in what happened that day. I always feel a little guilty for not going to church on Easter. So I go for a walk in the woods and talk to God about it. I have a pretty casual relationship with the Big Guy. I imagine him sitting up there with his feet up on his desk, kickin' back with a beer and listening to what I have to say. I'm pretty sure he understands, because he knows me. He knows me because I talk to him from my heart, instead of just reciting someone else's words out of a book. No pretenses. No fake ceremony. Just me and Him, talking stuff out. My way.

Jeff

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I think you get to do what you want to do when you're ready to do it. So, if church calls you this week, you best go. Hope you find peace when you're there.

Kristen said...

Um...WTF is Egg Bake?

Sometimes I get this urge to go to church too, but I'm scared that when I walk in I'll get struck by lighning or something.

So I don't go.

melissalion said...

I would have to know where a church was. I also had no idea it was Easter anything until yesterday.

But you go and please pray for the rest of us. We'd hate for you to get into heaven and miss the party with the rest of us. So, I guess we'll join you?

Summer said...

My husband and I can't agree on a church. And I think deep down he feels I'm blasphemous. I get peace from God without agreeing with most of the stuff the church teaches. I'm very weird, I know. I guess he doesn't want to get a jolt off the lightning may or may not hit me.

briankainec.com said...

5 years ago I gave up believing in god for Lent. I've never relapsed...

*Akilah Sakai* said...

If something in your head is telling you to go, then go. This is a harmless place you know very well already.

t2ed said...

One of my friends gave up Lent for chocolate.

You read that right.

Twinkie said...

Nothing like a little bit of soulfull contemplation and spirituality to bring us inner peace at times. YAY good for you for allowing yourself to go back after all that time.

gkgirl said...

this was a very interesting post...
i enjoyed it.

Shania said...

Good for you. I'm a teensy bit envious of the peace it brings you.

Meigan said...

Wow Kate - I feel the same way about Holy Thursday as you do. It was the only one that wasn't really "required" for us catholics, but you know us - we went every year.

I do love it & now I am regretting not going tonight! Did you?

Anonymous said...

Love your blog...bad toe picture. Teehee

Sparkling Red said...

I hope you found what you were looking for at church. I find church to be kind of hit-and-miss when it comes to making a spiritual connection. Sometimes it happens, and other times I'm distracted or too tired. But more often than not, it's there.