You know who you are…you are the people that sneak into church on Christmas and Easter filling the pews with children dressed in their finest holiday clothes and saving seats for your in-laws. You create a standing-room-only situation in a church that normally has several empty seats on any given Sunday. You don’t know the new liturgy and you flub up the rest of us with your “…and also with you’s” when we finally got over our years of catholic conditioning. You wear fancy Easter outfits with big hats and sit in the front of the church even though you will have to walk out with your screaming child somewhere around the consecration.
Do I sound bitter? I am not really…I am curious. My parents were Chreasters and I was always curious as to why we only went to church twice a year. My dad never went with us, but my mother dressed us up and walked us over to our local Lutheran church to attend services. As I approached my teen years, church went out the door all together. I was clearly on my own for my religious education. I went back to the Lutheran church for a year or two, abandoned that right before my confirmation, and started attending the Pentacostal church with my cousins. AND I was attending an all-girls Catholic high school. Yes, my religious search was broad. Needless to say, I am not a cradle catholic, and quite honestly, I fit more into the dreaded “smorgasbord” catholic. I’m surely spending time in purgatory (cough cough).
But I have a question for all of the Chreasters out there. Why? What is the allure of attending church only on those two high holidays? Do you do it out of obligation? Do you feel like you can retain your “Christian Card” if you attend services those two days of the year? Is it because you are all dressed up and need some place to go besides brunch at the club? I just don’t get it.
Now please understand, I don’t believe you need to be in a church to worship God. God exists everywhere, in all things, in all beings. You can have church in your backyard as far as I’m concerned. But it appears to me that Chreasters have a need to be seen, to show the world that they are trying and what better time to achieve that goal than on the two biggest church holidays of the year. And if the goal is to provide your children with some kind of religious education, trust me, twice a year isn’t going to cut it. They will grow up as confused as I was. I was once that embarrassed parent in the front row at Christmas Eve mass whose child shouted out during a very quiet lull in the service “I hate church!”
So my challenge to the Chreasters is to choose. This doesn’t mean you have to attend church every Sunday. It doesn’t mean you have to stop doing your Chreaster gig either. It means commit to God or not. Go all in or fold. If you are truly committed to living a Christ-like life you won’t need to be seen on Easter and Christmas. God doesn’t want to hang out with you only when your dressed to the nines. He/She wants to hang out with you everyday…in your pj’s, in your yoga pants, in your God-given birthday suit. And if you decide to attend church services more faithfully, do it with mindfulness and an open heart.
For the goal isn’t to be seen; God sees us. The goal is to see God in everyone else.