March 24, 2005

Curmugeonly Easter Thoughts

I hadn't even been planning to go to Church on Easter this year, but the other day I got a reminder notice that I am, in fact, scheduled to usher the 9:00 AM service (the most heavily attended one at our Church).

I'm gonna go ahead and run up my Purgatory Tab a little here:

Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!

I hate the Easter service for the same reason I hate the Christmas one - it brings out all the "C & E" churchgoers who stay away for most of the other 50 weeks of the year. As a result, the place turns into a zoo. It is mobbed with people, most of whom haven't the faintest idea what they're doing. The atmosphere is so noisy, crowded and confused that it completely throws off the solemnity and sense of the service and makes it almost impossible for anyone to really concentrate on worship, which (at least I have always thought) is the whole point of being there in the first place.

The thing that makes it worse is that it's not as if most of these people appear to feel any particular spiritual calling. Half of them are only there out of some vague notion that they "ought to be" left over from their youth. The other half, this being one of the vainer suburbs of Northern Virginia, are there to be seen in all their new Easter frippery.

I know, I know. This ranting runs exactly contrary to the grain of inclusiveness flogged by much of the modern Church. But at the moment, I don't care. These people are pests.

Posted by Robert at March 24, 2005 01:38 PM

Maybe, though, these Easter/Christmas churchgoers are, in fact, looking for something, trying to find something ... Maybe to them, church is a chore, a duty, whatever, and maybe they don't know the rituals, maybe they aren't as "serious" or "solemn" as you think they should be. But your attitude wouldn't welcome them back to the fold, Robert. Just know that your welcoming attitude actually could make a difference to somebody.

Food for thought.

Posted by: red at March 24, 2005 01:46 PM

There is always that hope, of course. Note that I'm doing my ranting here. Helps to get it out of my system. I solemnly promise not to spit poison at anybody on Game Day.

Posted by: Robert the LB at March 24, 2005 01:56 PM

One must get the curmudgeon out of one's system somehow!

But I tell ya - when I've gone home at holidays to my parents, and I go to church - the unfriendliness and snobbiness and unwelcomingness of the regular parish can be so feckin' obnoxious that I sit there FUMING through a service that I should be paying attention to.

I go to church where I live now, but when I go to church with my parents, it's assumed that I'm "one of those" who only show up on holidays. Talk about having the entire atmosphere be ruined.

Posted by: red at March 24, 2005 01:59 PM

I'm not currently attending church (won't bore you with the details) and I make a point of not going on holidays because it makes me feel horribly guilty. A friend of mine convinced me into going with her this last Christmas Eve because her kids had bailed on her and she wanted company. The entire service -- when I wasn't cringing over how bad the choir was -- I felt guilty for being there.

Posted by: Ith at March 24, 2005 02:35 PM

At least at the 9:00 service won't be as crowded as those later in the morning.

Posted by: Teri at March 24, 2005 02:36 PM

You forgot to mention another reason to hate it: incense. Allegry season, and incense.

Posted by: Fausta at March 24, 2005 04:34 PM

robert, robert, robert
do remember mother's favorite parable--the one abt the workers in the vineyard. surely you have figured out at which hour you can be considered to have signed on.
never mind how awful the herd behaves--at least they're not at home surfing the net.

Posted by: Mom at March 24, 2005 04:34 PM

I will spend the Easter Mass trapped in the cry room (that architectural wonder of modern Catholic churches) with my five year old son (who can actually behave in church), and the eighteen month old (who cannot). And I will be reminded yet again why I deserve every minute in that purgatory - for all the years when I was single and I glared at parents who couldn't control their kids in church sure in the misguided belief that when I had kids, they would behave.....

Posted by: KMR at March 24, 2005 08:00 PM

They will. Eventually.

Posted by: Teri at March 24, 2005 11:35 PM

I'll be attending the 12:30 mass Easter at my church where not only will the liturgy be the beautiful Tridentine one, but also the choir and orchestra will be performing Beethovern's Missa in C, op 86.

Let the envy burst forth.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 25, 2005 12:55 AM

I completely agree. We have missed Christmas Mass the last two years because we have a small child and depite arriving 40 minutes early, were standing near the exit doors each year. Sorry, but there's no point in that...we left.

This year we're going to Martha's Vineyard, which has few people this time of year, maybe we'll be able to sit down for Easter. Next Christmas we'll drive an hour back to our old Cathedral Church in Boston, which seats thousands and has half that many people in the parish. It's a beautiful place. I wish the C&E people would either come all year...which would result in bigger churches or more of them, or stay at home.

Posted by: SteveL at March 25, 2005 11:17 AM

Hmm, guess no one was envious. And here I thought y'all were classical music fans.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 26, 2005 01:07 AM

I do envy the Latin Mass. It is rairly celebrated in the Diocese of Arlington, and the few times I have been to one, I wish I had taken Latin in high school instead of French.

Posted by: KMR at March 26, 2005 08:04 AM
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