Saturday, April 3, 2010

On Good Friday, We Become Catholics

In the Lutheran churches of my youth, we weren't likely to be influenced by Catholicism; we'd have been far more likely to be influenced by Southern Baptists.

As I sat in the aftermath of Good Friday, waiting for my husband to be done with his choir duties, I was struck by how many Catholic practices (some of them quite ancient) have crept into my Good Friday. I'm not complaining, mind you, just observing.

At mid-day yesterday, I went to our labyrinth. We offer a self-guided Stations of the Cross, where people make their way through the labyrinth and stop, if they desire, at numbered bricks to read about a particular Station of the Cross. I made my way through the labyrinth, under a brilliant blue sky, a mild breeze blowing, reflecting on capital punishment, abandonment, and salvation.

Afterwards, I sat at the labyrinth to hand out the booklets and to answer questions. Very few people came after 1:30, so I had a pleasant time reading Brian McLaren's latest book, A New Kind of Christianity.

Then I went home, grilled burgers, and ate them, while watching From Jesus to Christ, at this Frontline site.

My Good Friday ended with our Good Friday service, which ended with the Adoration of the Cross. That element has never been part of any Lutheran service I've been to, but I didn't find it objectionable. I have always had problems with churches that focus more on the crucifixion of Jesus, and less on his life, which put him on his collision path with authorities, but happily, my church doesn't do that. On Good Friday, it seems appropriate to focus on the cross.

We live in South Florida, where there are far more Catholics than Lutherans. Lutheran churches down here see a fair number of parishioners who come to us from Catholic churches where they're made to feel unwelcome, often after divorce. I've gotten used to seeing people who bow and bend on one knee. But last year was the first time I've seen the Adoration of the Cross.

Last year, I stayed in my pew. This year, I went up. I wasn't sure of what to do, but when in doubt, I figure a prayer of thanks is always appropriate.

I'd be more comfortable with Eucharistic Adoration, but so far, I haven't found a Lutheran church that does that. I'm interested in how many ways I've been influenced by monastic traditions: the liturgy of the hours, the monastic vows, the observations of the feast days. I'm interested by how many ancient traditions resonate with me, particularly the labyrinth. I'm an ancient-future Christian to be sure.

No comments: