January 3, 2011

epiphanyEvery now and then you find yourself recognizing and appreciating you’re in the right place at the right time. Yesterday was one of those days while attending Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. The just recently-opened church was decorated beautifully for the Christmas season, with two evergreens with white lights and bright pointsettas decorating the altar area. The colors of the season, gold and white, were everywhere, and those who arrived early were met with the sounds of Gregorian chant being played softly over the sound system, providing just the right setting. The music performed by the band during Mass – a mix of Christmas carols and contemporary music – was exquisitely performed. Fr. Greg’s homily, equating the transformation of the Three Wise Men’s faith after bringing gifts to the Christ child with the opportunities every New Year brings for a new start and allowing our hearts to be transformed by God’s grace in a spirit of faith renewal, was spot on and well-delivered.

Sitting there and taking the whole experience in, I was amazed, as usual, at the size and diversity of the crowd. And what a crowd it was! St. Mary Magdalene has grown so rapidly in the last couple of years that they don’t have room for the people who show at the 4:30 PM Mass and are adding a fifth weekend Mass in just a few weeks, so people were standing along the walls all around the side and the back. To see so many people attending such a joyous and solemn occasion was to feel the spirit of Christmas in all its true wonder and awe.

Heartlander at Red State has an interesting take on Epiphany and the politics of religion that is well worth reading, I hope you enjoy it. I think he’s spot on – the Founding Fathers defintely knew what they were doing when they created the so-called “separation of church and state”. Religion must not be legislated or imposed on upon people – it took Christianity 1,900 years to learn that painful lesson, Islam will learn it sooner or later as well. At any rate, the USA remains the absolute best place to practice whatever religion brings you closer to God, and those who choose to have none would have their own cause best served by simply accepting that not everyone believes as they do and “live and let live”, instead of using the judicial system to impose their views and personal agendas on the rest of us.

As this 2011 unfolds, my prayer is that all who seek a deeper understanding and relationship with God find a way to be more open to the incredible things God can do in life, if only given the chance and the space to do it in. What religion, or lack thereof, is chosen as the vehicle to enable that to happen is less important than the effort involved and invested. It would certainly benefit this country and its culture if more people would consider taking that chance – because only good can come from it.

Happy Epiphany, everyone!

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:18 | Comments (0)
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