I went to church on Sunday. It’s the first time I have attended any kind of services here in Williamsburg (3 years almost) or for several years in South Dakota either. I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended five years of parochial school from grades 3-7. I baptized all three of my children in the Catholic faith also. That all changed when I divorced my first husband … well, that’s another story for another day. Let’s say that I spent the last 35-40 years searching for an alternative, including membership in a Lutheran congregation, and occasional visits to Presbyterian, community/non-denominational, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Church of Religious Science churches. Ironically enough, I also graduated from a faith-based Benedictine college, the University of Mary, in North Dakota. Back to the nuns teaching me. I have never turned away from the idea of God or a Higher Power, only from the dogma and man-made policies of organized churches telling me what to believe.
You see, even when I was a child going to church every day in school, I always had this belief that God knew me, and I had my own conversations with Her. Yes, even then, I thought that if I were made in the image of God, and I was a girl, then God must be a girl. That wasn’t a popular opinion, and I was conditioned through prayers and rituals to call God Him. I still do sometimes. It’s exceptionally difficult to undo the training of our formative years. Now I believe God is both Him and Her. Also another story.
I don’t know why I “suddenly” chose to go to church services now, but I’m glad I did. Divine intervention, probably. LOL! Rev. David Hicks MacPherson was the guest minister at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist church and gave a sermon titled “I’m Spiritual AND Religious.” I interpreted his message (in a nutshell) to be that spirituality is about our feelings and our internal relationship with ourselves and with God. Religion is about our actions and our external expression of our beliefs and commitment to those beliefs with other like-minded people. It makes total sense to me. He talked about the goal of a world community with peace, liberty, love, and justice for all. That is something I am willing to work and live for, something I want to be involved in.
Perspective is such an extraordinary thing in our lives. I may not fully understand the chain of events that make the world keep turning, or why people are like they are. Ha! There’s a LOT I don’t know. So I am willing to keep an open mind that the goal of a better world and my place in it is possible and probable, and worth working toward. The insights I got at this service were astonishing. I felt a rightness about being there. This searcher has continued to read, ponder, watch on tv and YouTube, ideas and people who share those ideas about church, religion, God, etc. I even have a book called “I’m Spiritual, Dammit!” And now I might be ready to be religious again. I feel good about that for some reason.