I went to mass today. The mother-in-law of one of your church elders passed away. She was Catholic, so I attended the mass held in her honor. As a non-catholic, I've only been to a handful of masses in my day. To be honest, I sort of grew up with an unspoken suspicion about the church of Rome. They worshiped Mary. They had idols in their church building. They venerated the saints and called their preacher "Father." These were the biases with which I grew up.
Interesting that I saw none of that today. Sure, there were statues in the building. There was one of Mary and one of Joseph holding a carpenter's square. There was one of Jesus with a red heart on his chest, and one of Him on the cross. My favorite was the one of St. Michael. He was standing above the altar in Roman military dress.
But these weren't the center of the service. I was surprised at how much scripture I heard. I was always taught that Catholics were not "people of the book." I was startled at how often I heard Christ's name praised. I was taught that Jesus was subordinate to Mary in the Catholic church. I was pleasantly pleased by the very scriptural and encouraging homily that Father Dave preached.
I'm not going to convert anytime soon. Yes, I still hold some differences with the Catholic church. I plan to stay right where I am at, preaching in an Independent Christian Church. But after today, I'll think of my Catholic friends more as brothers and sisters. Siblings with whom I disagree on some important matters of faith, but siblings nonetheless rather than the wayward cousins I've always thought them to be.