Monday, July 10, 2017


A little while back, I along with the family were invited to the First Communion for a son of a friend. I hadn't been in a Roman Catholic worship context in a long time.  Another interesting tidbit is that I attended the Mass in my clerical collar. It was not by choice. I helped officiate a funeral at Hope just prior to the First Communion Mass.  I had no time to change!  So that made for some interesting dynamics and might I say, feelings of awkwardness on my part - like I was an imposter.  I wasn't an imposter.  I wear the uniform of the Office of the Holy Ministry.  But within my context, only Roman Catholic Priests are expected to wear the collar.  (I am frequently address as "Father" when out in public.)  But enough of that.

My observations:

1. I had never been inside Mary Queen Catholic Church, Friendswood, TX since they built their new sanctuary (technically, a basilica.)  It is impressive on the outside and even more so on the inside.  Roman Catholics often donate much treasure for such purposes - and it shows.  I commend them for it.  This was no auditorium.  This is a huge space that exudes mystery, transcendence, and awe.

2. Hardly anyone sings.  There were a number of hymns sung.  But almost no one sang,  Sheri and I tried singing and picked up their unfamiliar tunes rather quickly.  But all we heard was ourselves and the silence of everyone else listening to the cantor.  

3. The music printed in the worship folder did not always match what was sung.  There were liturgical portions of the service printed with music and words.  The words were correct, but the music was not.  Very confusing for one who reads music.

4. Reverence.  If there is one thing I observed more than anything else, it was reverence.  Particularly during the celebration of the Sacrament.  Everyone kneeled from the Words of Institution until the end of Distribution.  The only time they were not kneeling was while walking up to the chancel to receive the Sacrament.  The Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament is palpable among the people.  Their Lord is physically present, so they kneel in humility.  I totally respect their sense of reverence.  

Conclusion: We Lutherans need to teach the Roman Catholics how to sing (and the Doctrine of Justification by Faith and other articles of faith (See Augsburg Confession.))  The Roman Catholics could teach us a thing or two about reverence in worship. 

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