Feel free to ignore this post. It has nothing to do with finances.
For the past two years I have been troubled by the inequality of how I can practice my beliefs in their church.
Similarity of our churches
Their religious branch isn’t much different than ours:
- We all consider ourselves Christians
- We pray to the same God
- We read passages from the same book (the Bible)
- We all attend Church regularly.
Once again we were happy to attend their church service. We sat together, sang together, and prayed together.
They encouraged us to participate in all their worship rituals – which was easy because they have both the same components as the church we attend:
- Welcome and Greetings
- We could even give our tithes and offerings to their church
But there was one part of the service I was told I should not to participate in: Communion
Direct access to God
At the moment of Jesus’s death there came a great earthquake (Matthew [27:51]) – which tore through the huge curtain separating the sacred Holy of Holies (section where only the High Priest could enter) from the rest of the temple.
This meant that sacrificing of animals was no longer necessary and everyone would forevermore have direct access to God.
How small is my God?
I don’t get it.
I was encouraged to participate in every aspect of their worship but not allowed to participate in communion.
Why? Is my God so small that I can only commune with Jesus through a man who excelled a seminary school?
Am I wrong here?
I asked my friends in Christ why I wasn’t allowed to partake in their communion. They explained that I would have to go through some classes and be converted to their brand of religion (my words, not theirs).
I didn’t go through their classes before singing their hymns.
I hadn’t taken a quiz before praying in their building (or leading the prayer at their dinner table either).
Was I breaking a rule when I recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison with their congregation?
I mean no disrespect to Catholicism, I just don’t understand this exclusivity to an open form worship.
Why non-believers think church is a bunch of rituals
This is exactly the type of nonsense I believe gives church a bad rap! The perception is that our churches are nothing but a bunch of rituals and rules to be followed. It’s hard enough for our youth to sit in a boring classroom from K-to-college for their primary and secondary education. They are less willing to take on additional classes to learn about the rules for following Jesus’s instructions. (BTW: The guidelines are already in the Bible).
Certainly classes are necessary to become a member of a church.
Of course there are steps that must be taken to become a Christian – like baptism.
And we most definitely should be learning more about God by attending Sunday services and/or small groups.
But to exclude a believer from taking communion with Jesus Christ because they haven’t completed the appropriate number of classes is like hanging the velvet rope in front of the pulpit.
I haven’t read the entire Bible yet but I’ve also never read, or heard, a passage that places man in the position of conduit to God on my behalf.
I’m going to crash the party
I’m a coward. I don’t take chances and I really don’t like confrontation – but I’m really tempted to crash the party next time.
Who’s going to stop me from taking communion at their church?
I wasn’t assigned a wristband at the door.
There is no mark on my forehead symbolizing the completion of Confirmation classes.
Everyone taking communion last Sunday looked exactly the same as me: A child of the one true King.
- Would a Priest withhold a wafer from my tongue if he thought I wasn’t Catholic?
- Would a scuffle ensue in the pews if my relatives tried to keep me from taking in communion?
- Does God really care what petty religious branch I belong to or does he care that I confess my sins and follow Jesus Christ?
Not a my-church-is-better-than-yours message
If you are reading this article then I hope you have been moved one way or another. You might be really angry that I’m challenging your religious beliefs. Good! Those who are passionate about their faith should be!
What I hope for most of all is that I’ve challenged your way of thinking about this perception that we, believers. are publicizing to those who have not yet found their way.
For example: I am thinking of a gentleman I met at a conference who I am certain does not believe – his actions show it quite explicitly.
Where do I send him once I’ve spoken to his heart? I certainly can’t recommend the little church in Wisconsin because of the inconsistencies in their little church service. I believe it would cause more confusion than direction.
What should I do? What would you do?