Good Friday. For Emile’s parents its a day of mourning and to spend with their friends at the church. For Emile’s friend Jamie, it is a day that you must have fish and chips – no matter the expense – to remind him of his Newfoundland roots. For some, it is an opportunity to get the chore of family Easter dinner out of the way so the remaining long weekend is theirs to savour. (or perhaps it is so there is turkey leftovers for Saturday and Sunday too). For Emile – and many others I am sure – its a day off work. And since I am feeling brave today, I will tackle religion.
I was raised – no, I was baptized Anglican. I say that I was baptized because I am not sure that it would be true to say I was raised in the church. I remember going to church with my mom while my Dad would stay home and take care of my brother. I remember also being allowed to take my colouring book and crayons to keep me occupied during the service. I remember really wanting to be able to eat the host, until I found out that meant catechism after school until communion. I played Mary in the Christmas pageant one year – I think James Wilke was Joseph. I wore a blue choir robe and looked like I was the one wrapped in swaddling clothes.
After my dad died, we didn’t tend go to church. I can’t say exactly why. I am sure if we were the stars of a television drama, there would have been a scene with my mom shaking her fist at God in the church and vowing to never come back. (then text at the end would say “Inspired by a true story”. Notice that lately? They can’t even “Base” things on a true story anymore because it strays so far from the truth.) But Hollywood truth aside, I don’t think it fit our lives any longer.
The Anglican church was invented by that womanizing nutter King Henry VIII because the Catholic church would not sanction his divorce. Elizabeth I formalized it later. The main two differences between the Catholics and the Anglicans (aside from the origin) is that Anglican ministers can marry and there is a lack of hierarchy in the Anglican church. Therefore, each church is led by the minister in the direction he – or delightfully! she – wants to go. (Have you noticed that if you are a king, it becomes a new respected religion. If you are a hippie, it becomes a brain-washing cult.)
So what do I think? I think it would be extremely comforting to 100% believe in your religion. I think that to KNOW in your heart of hearts that you will see your loved ones again would be wonderful. But I simply do not have that unshakable faith – I wish I did. I want to know that if you were good, only good will happen to you. To know that those who have wronged the world will be facing their day of reckoning.
I think when someone says they will pray for me it is kind and thoughtful – even if I am not totally sure it will make a difference. I think that people should believe and have faith in whatever gives them comfort and doesn’t add hate to the world. I think that faith shouldn’t be used as a hammer or a sword and that it is personal discovery to find what you believe.
Do I believe in God? I am not sure what I believe in. I think the world is more complicated than we can fathom and just like our ancestors who built their belief systems on what they could see and understand, I think we do the same. But I like to think – and therefore I do – that there is something more than I can see and understand. I like to think that every time I have a close call, or something good happens to me that my dad and others are watching out for me. That there is more than just what I can see. I think we all like to think that. I just don’t know if I can call that faith.
April 6th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Wondering about the existence of God on Good Friday. I may yet be reckoned with.