This is gonna sound way too church lady, I just know it, which is really odd because when I was a kid I had to be dragged out of bed every Sunday. Any time Christmas and New Years fell within a day or two of Sunday was like double penance because it meant going to mass, like 4 times in 7 days.
Now I find myself actually looking forward to going to mass. Sometimes even go in the middle of the week for a bit of a quick visit. Yeah, I know, weird.
Anyway, right now I’m on holidays in a country where English is not the first language. This may be a resort and full of anglos but all the staff speak Spanish first and only those who must deal with the white skins frying in the sun, have a fluency in our lingo.
So, on Trip Advisor I was trying to find if there was a church nearby. Ha, in this country you’d think there’d be a church every 500 yards or so but not so much in a tourist zone. We’re mostly heathens here–except for the aforementioned staff and I suspect they are not given time off to attend church.
So the big complaint I found on the various tourist sites was that there were masses in a few places but, and here’s the kicker, NONE were in English. Can you imagine? One complainant went on to say that even where it was listed as a bilingual mass, only the homily was delivered, first in Spanish, then in English. Everything else was in Spanish.
So, um…so what?
Isn’t it the same mass? After all, it isn’t like half way through they bring out a chicken and break into a Santa Ria or voodoo ritual. It’s pretty much all the same thing except they say Dios instead of God and Jesus instead of…instead of Jesus. Yeah, well, it sounds different…and Espiritu Sanctu instead of the Holy Spirit. But you get the idea.
It is the church universal. That’s the Catholic part of the Catholic church. And that is what I find so enjoyable about going to church in different countries. When it comes right down to it, we are all saying the same thing in our own words and when it comes time to walk up for communion, how much more communal is it than being in a line that is the same line everywhere in the world?
I guess what I’m saying here is that, like the Rev. Jim in Taxi – okay, I’ll wait while everyone under the age of 40 looks up the obscure cultural reference – no matter where you go, there you are. Or, in this case, God is there, where-ever you go.
And even if I enter the church as a stranger, a very pale skin anglo in a sea of beautiful coffee coloured latinos, by the time we get to the handshake, we’re all on the same page.
It’s hard to put in words but, trust me. Just walk through that door, sit near the back and spend the 40 minutes in a place that is somewhere else but completely the same place at the same time.
The best part is when you go back to your church at home, you’ll take that moment with you and it will never be the same.
And now I must finish up my agua mineral and trundle off to my air conditioned room and get to sleep. There’s a busy day of lounging tomorrow followed by a few more of the same. And then it’s Sunday again…lucky me.
Seriously, I am blessed.