Sunday, April 2, 2006

Church: "Late" Reflections

When we go to Church, we generally sit in the back pew for two reasons. First, if Cecilia needs to nurse, we are a distraction and disturbance to as few people as possible. Second, if Cecilia needs one of us to get up with her either to walk around or change her diaper, we are closer to the back of the church (and the bathroom) already. In other words, we sit so far back out of consideration for others. This leads me to my train of thought for today...

Why are so many people so inconsiderate of other people at Church? In this case, I am primarily thinking of how many people come late. Since we sit near the back, we hear, see and feel every time the door opens. People wouldn't want to arrive at a movie late and movie theaters are even designed so late patrons disturb those patrons who were on time as little as possible. And yet there are people who perpetually come late. And I don't mean 1-5 minutes late. Sometimes it is 15, 30 or even 45 minutes late. One family came last week just in time to receive communion and then left as though it were a drive through service. Hence I cannot even make excuses using the time change this weekend. I do sometimes sympathize with those with infants just because, based on experience, you can be ready to go out the door and have a sudden diaper change or emergency spitup that will delay you. But most of those that arrive late don't even have children no less infants. It is just plain rude to arrive late. If Church was a job, such people would be fired by now. If Church was a theatrical production, such people would be forced to stand in the back until an appropriate time for them to sit down. And yet when it comes to the celebration of the mass, such people seem not to care. In addition to being rude to their fellow Church-goers and those who take time to be sure everything is prepared for mass (Priests, Sacristans, Ushers, Extraordinary Ministers, Lectors, Musicians and Choir Members), they are being rude to God. Apparently other people as well as God are not as important in their busy lives as they themselves are. Now I realize at some point or another all of us wind up late to Church be it because of a traffic delay or whatever, but there are people for whom this seems to be a perpetual problem. I miss sitting closer to the altar at Church even if solely because, at least when my daughter is calm or asleep, I would be able to focus on what is happening without doors opening, cold air rushing at me, people asking me to move down or let them in and people grabbing bulletins.

It seems to me that such people might just be the ones who most need to slow down and be more conscious of what they are doing and and do things more purposefully and with greater care. If they did, maybe mass would be less of a chore or item on their checklist and more of a fruitful and enjoyable experience.

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