Monday, April 30, 2012

Finding God in all the Wrong Places – Part Two

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Today’s Blog Post
Finding God in all the Wrong Places – Part Two

(This posting could be considered as the second part of the “Culture” of my city of Peterborough… or it could be the “Christian Tourist”.)

As I entered the huge and very old building it took my breath away. I was entering a very different world than the one that I am used to. This was the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church which stands at the corner of Romaine and Aylmer in Peterborough.

This is hard to believe!  This stately church is in such a sharp contrast to the community that it sits in. Everything about this place looks as if it should be in Roman or at least in Quebec. It is too beautiful to be in old Peterborough.  It is not like the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church that I attended a week before Easter – which is much more modern.

I met the Pastor of this church one day when I was carving in my Misty Hollow work shop.  I was a little startled when his voice said, “Good afternoon.”  I had turned to see a young priest and his bicycle just outside my garage.  His name was Father Ervens Mengelle.

Fr. Ervens had found me on the Internet and came to ask about me doing a carving for the church.  It was the beginning of a new friendship. He is a very interesting person to say the least and a friend.

Yesterday I sat in the service that Fr. Ervens Mengelle conducted.  It was a powerful and uplifting service for me. I specially thank the congregation that allowed a complete stranger to attend their Mass… and welcomed me.

Why would I attend a Roman Catholic Church on a Sunday Morning – as a Protestant, an Evangelical and a Pentecostal?  What could ever get me into that kind of place?

The answer was, I was looking to see if God was there ( there was a couple of other reasons as well).  Lots of protestants and specially evangelicals flat out state that He isn’t there.  Sorry to have to tell my friends, I found God there. I also found a large congregation of friendly and open people worshipping it their own special way.

I left with a deep sense of having had something special happen in me.

Next came a different kind of shock to my system.

I left the Roman Catholic service and then picked up my wife and mother.  We were headed to another evangelical church… the Immanuel Alliance Church on Sherbrook Street.

Whoah – what a contrast to the senses.

Upon entering the foyer there was a buzz happening already with every one talking to each other.  The “Holy Awe” that the Sacred Heart Church contained and produced was definitely not there!  There was a friendly happiness and a different atmosphere.

I can see why most Catholics would have a dickens of a time walking into the Protestant church and specially the Evangelical churches. These people are all about speaking with each other and connecting big time. It seemed that there were good friends meeting good friends that had known each other for years – which was likely true.

The first person I met when I walked through the door was a man I knew from the Small Business Network that I attend in our community. He and his wife operate a Bed and Breakfast not far from Peterborough. Sadly they took him out of the foyer and into an ambulance not long before the service began.

All the songs I knew – except one. I could sing along with these folks.

The pastor’s 35+ minutes were in a fairly big contrast to the priest’s sermon at Sacred Heart at 9 minutes. They both spoke about Jesus being our Shepherd, and explained themselves very well.

It took Pastor Mark Bebbington a little longer to get to the end.  But hey I am a Pentecostal and understand how much a person can try to say before you lose them. Tongue in my cheek at this point… not fair to compare I know!

I had moved from the stately, magnificence of the Roman Catholic Church to the warm fuzzies of a modern little church that you feel surrounded by people that are hand shakers and like to talk before the service starts.

God was there too… not more there… just there… the same as He was at the Sacred Heart Church.

Someone told me one time that you judge a church by what happens to you AFTER YOU LEAVE THE PLACE.  That is happening to me today. I can’t stop thinking about the two churches. Something happened in me yesterday that is deep.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

The Two churches that I attended yesterday...

First - Sacred Heart of Jesus - Roman Catholic Church

Immanuel Alliance Church - Peterborough, Ontario

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