Finding Christ in a community of believers
On Saturday, my family and I traveled 55 minutes south to visit my friends Barbara Wagg Seidle and Jay Seidle for dinner and fellowship. It was great to seem them again.
My kids were prying for stories from Jay about his mischievous teenage activities (which I shall not divulge here). As they were begging, Jay said something in passing, which made my heart jump for joy. He said that these things he did in his teenage years were before he knew Jesus. Then, he went on to tell my kids a story from those days, and all were very impressed.
Wow. How I miss that from my pre-catholic days. I've thought of just throwing out everything catholic just to get that back. What is it that I miss? A community of a shared relationship with Christ and his power working where there are 2 or more gathered in His name.
I can't count on one hand the times I have heard something like that come out of the mouth of a catholic. Before I knew Christ, I was a a goody-too-shoes kind of a kid. So, those words do not flow from my tongue. My testimony is more of how God humbles the proud.
I tell myself that this kind of community can be built in a catholic parish. I'm going to try and build it. No. Strike that. Mere mortals cannot build that. It is gifted by the Holy Spirit to communities of believers who hunger for Him, and who are not too proud or arrogant about their doctrinal beliefs. I have to remind myself that over and over, because pelagianism is still hardwired into my hard heart.
To borrow some words from my good friend, and childhood mentor, David Dorsey: we were in the presence of a family who finds Christ "in a community of believers who have and do experience Christ daily."
That is worth more to me than all the right Catholic doctrine, all the sacraments, and the rich tradition from the heart of the Catholic Church (dare I apply Philippians 3:8-10 to this situation). So, why don't I leave? Basically, God is not letting me leave. I am waiting for the blessing. If God can part the Red Sea and raise Jesus from the dead, then He can renew a catholic parish. Stay tuned.