This afternoon there was a knock at the door. In my previous house when I lived next to Matt the drug dealer I chose not to open the door unless I knew who it was, but for some reason in my new leafy street I feel a bit safer, or maybe it was just my Saturday good mood.
When I opened the door two elderly ladies greeted me with a smile and introduced themselves. They were from the local church and were inviting people in the neighbourhood to join them for Christmas mass. When they asked me what my plans were I immediately replied I’d be going to mass with my family up North. The ladies seemed happy with this response and wished me a good Christmas. It was a very friendly exchange.
However, I definitely won’t be heading to Christmas mass with my family. This was a complete lie. While I have been brought up Catholic, I haven’t been to a Christmas mass in years. I have rarely set foot in a church since leaving school. I am a spiritual person in my own way, but unless it’s for a wedding or a funeral, I’ll probably never go to church again.
I’m not particularly concerned that I told a lie to these ladies (a quick couple of Hail Mary’s on the death bed should sort my way into heaven, right?) I just have no idea why I did it. The weird part was I didn’t even falter, the lie rolled right off my tongue and I didn’t realise what I’d said until hours later. Why did I feel the need to lie? Was it because these ladies were so sweet and I didn’t want to say no to them? Did I feel I’d be judged by them I f I said I wasn’t going to church?
If I did feel judged by them, why should I? They were the ones knocking on my door inviting me to mass. What would be wrong in telling them I don’t practise their religion? We are all different and doesn’t Christianity base itself on compassion for others? Why was I afraid to tell them I disagreed with their faith? Or maybe it was just the quickest way I could get them to leave me to live my heathen life in peace?
Either way, without a doubt I’ll be going to the pub on Christmas Eve. And maybe that is sort of like a church? I go there faithfully every year (am there early most Sunday mornings too) and mingle with my local community. When I’m there I’ll often discuss the deeper meanings of life, trying to make sense of it all. Also, there is wine and it’s FULL of people singing loudly. And my wallet is considerably lighter when I get home from it. Hmm, maybe telling them I was heading to church wasn’t such a lie after all. Cheers, Jesus!