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Thursday, June 21, 2012

First-Year University: Church?

“If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the mo-or-orning. I’d hammer in the eve-eve-ning, all over this land. I’d hammer out danger. I’d hammer out a warning. I’d hammer out the love between my brothers and my sisters… all over this land.”* (Feel free to just sing along, Baby Boomers!) What do Peter, Paul and Mary have to do with a first-year student going to church? Ah-ha, in the year 1967, everything! You see, our church, Christ the King Parish, had a “Guitar Mass” and we sang this very tune right along with words changed to reflect worship of God. We swayed, but did not clap like the Protestant churches were doing somewhere else in the city. The Newman Center was for Catholic university students and I loved it there. The priest in charge of things was a youngish fellow and had a smile every single time we saw him anywhere. He really loved the Christian life and he loved students, too. His name was Father Numan (though I may not have spelled it correctly here. It sounded exactly like the Newman Center but was spelled differently.)

You may have recalled from earlier posts that I just plain enjoyed going to church and had a variety of denominational experiences during my childhood years. When I reached that first year of liberation and making my own choices, I thought I really needed to make a choice and stick to one church. While most of the previous year I had attended St. Anthony’s with the Catholic friend I lived with as we cared for her ill mother, I still had a dropping-in kind of attendance with the Methodist Church, too. The First Methodist Church was a long walk from the dorm, though, so that helped make the decision a lot easier! We didn’t have vehicles that first year at university. Christ the King Parish was close to the campus.

I was searching for something concrete in my spiritual life and, it seemed to me, that the Catholic denomination offered what I was looking for, as well as the formality of the liturgical worship. Yes, I swayed myself through the beautiful strings of the folk-style worship of the Guitar Mass, but I often slipped in for one of the “regular” masses, too. I loved the solemnity and reverence of the High Mass. It was easy to see why Father Numan was always so happy; the Newman Center was a great place to hang out.

When, at last, I decided that this was the place for me, I asked Father Numan what I needed to do to become a member of Christ the King Parish. Well, as it turned out, I would have to wait a few months for the new members class… unless I wanted to join the Pre-Cana Classes just beginning? If you are not a Catholic but are aware that the first miracle of Jesus was done at the wedding in Cana, you may have already figured out I would be the only non-engaged student in the class! Nevermind, I didn’t want to wait.

I do realize that for some of you, you may be like a few of my friends were back in the 60’s and shaking your head and thinking I had gone off on the wrong path in, finally, just deciding to toss out my many years with the Methodists and other Protestant denominations. Well, dear Reader, let me assure you, I tossed nothing out. I learned much from all of them and have a lot of love for my Methodist friends and teachers, as well as the other denominations I frequented less often than the Methodists or Catholics. I was what we call a “seeker”. I wanted to know God and how to worship Him. I was not locked into what my parents did or didn’t do. I did not think I needed to stay with the same church just for the sake of loyalty. I felt that my loyalty was to God and not a building, really. He knew how much I wanted to find Him. At this point in my life, I felt like I was communing with God in the most profound way at Christ the King Parish.

The time would come later when the Lord opened up an entirely new door of relationship with Him. I would, at last, find the rest of what I had been looking for since my early childhood years when I had been too young to read the Bible but still walked and talked with God. I wanted to find that again and, in His time, I did! My understanding Father God knew I was seeking Him!

“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalm 53:2)

Not only that, but He promises that we will find Him when we, earnestly and honestly seek Him!

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Even if you are in a tough place, God knows and will hear you!

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

God loves you, dear Reader, and I pray that you keep seeking Him until you find Him!

****First-Year University: Work-Study… Coming Tomorrow

If you missed the post on Sojourner’s prayer challenge at age 7, you can find it here:

*Lyrics for “If I Had A Hammer” (In case you want to finish singing the song!)
If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening
All over this land
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening
All over this land
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land
©1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed)
TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

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