When I was younger I didn’t really understand what church was about. From what I can recall, church for little emma was Veggietales and absentmindedly listening in Sunday School.
Going into Phil’s Day Off, I didn’t really have a plan. The weekend that we were assigned p.d.o. was probably one of the busiest weekends I had this month, including my final shift at my old job, my first shift at my new job, family dinner(s), a birthday party, and a massive biology test coming right up afterwards on Monday. So I had to think of something that wasn’t too time consuming, however would actually make a lasting impact on me so I could wholeheartedly blog about today.
That’s how I ended up at church.
On a chill Sunday morning I attended the contemporary 11:00am service at the Hope Lutheran Church in Port Coquitlam, what I didn’t know, is that they were doing communion. Communion, for those who don’t know is “the breaking of bread”, is the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared (taken from the dictionary). The bread, or cracker is to represent the body of Christ and the wine (or sometimes grape juice) is to represent the blood of Christ. From what I could tell, this is something very important to these people’s faith.
My plan was to go in, remain anonymous, and just observe the service. That didn’t happen. I was instantly greeted by the pastor, who introduced himself and soon realized that I had never been there before. He briefly explained what communion was, and directed me to a few rows of pews where some “younger adults sit”. I said thank you and went and sat in one of the pews in the farther back of the church. I thought it would have been weird to start taking photos but trust me when I say that the church was beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that it looked exactly like I thought a church would look like. Dark exposed beams contrasted against the stark white walls and when the sun came out to shine, rays of coloured beams shone through the stained glass depictions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The bibles were old and slightly worn, however the massive cross hanging on the main wall was the centerpiece. My anonymity continued to fail when a woman sat next to me and introduced herself, and then invited me to sit with her and her friends, guessing we were about the same age. Turns out, Sarah (the woman I was talking to) is married and all her friends have graduated from post-secondary. She was very surprised when I told her that I was 16. She asked me why I had come, my mind drew a blank, and I stumbled through an answer of “oh I just live down the road… I’ve always been interested in going.” When in reality I was just doing this for my philosophy class and my study of religion and morality. I didn’t think that answer would have been the best. However, I was very thankful that I sat next to her, because she walked me through all the praying and the communion part, where I didn’t drink any wine but I was blessed by the pastor.
The service was really nice, there was a lot of standing up and then sitting down between songs and the pastor spoke about the book of life and the starting of the christian advent. The book of life is (metaphorically I think) this massive book with all the names of every christian in it. If your name is in the book, you’re going to heaven. The one thing that I did like about what the pastor was saying is that you can join the book of life at any time in your life. You don’t have to be a practicing christian since day one to get your spot up in heaven.
The service ended and I talked to Sarah a bit more and she invited me to the youth group that she runs, sadly I work every night that they run it. I still went however, and enjoyed a cup of coffee (which was free?? there were free baked goods that people had brought from home?? I was really into that) with her in the hall across from the sanctuary.
Soon enough, about three days following that Sunday I received a welcome email from the church.
Like I said before, I didn’t really have a plan, and I hadn’t developed any more questions before going into p.d.o. except for the first two that I explained in my previous blog post. Then, as I was typing this out and remembering what the pastor was actually talking about, I thought of reversing my second question, thus thinking, how has Christianity been influenced by western society?
I went to a contemporary service, where there was live music and more upbeat songs. The pastor even referenced The Grey Cup and Instagram. This service was definitely different and more modern than the traditional service at 9:00am.
So there you have it, the long and endearing tale of how I went to church for the first time in a really long time and got a good cup of coffee out of it.