Disclaimer: This blog entry is written to discuss about Christianity and to address issues around church, Jesus and bible. It is written from my personal experiences and might not reflect yours or other popular beliefs. This is a story about my personal and spiritual growth but should it hurt you in anyway, I do in advance, apologise.
I know I am a Christian -all my life. It is as factual as I am a girl and the earth is round. I was never given any other options and never did I question. I was that 5 year old girl who put her best dress to Sunday mass, secretly hoping that she could ran out in the middle of the boring service to pick up wild flowers, to play with stray dogs and to find other minions whose toys she could terrorised. When my parents were not in the mood of letting their eyes off my back, I have to pretend I know who Jesus is and how fulfilling it was to kneel on my knees -confessing all of my ‘greatest’ sins.
Hmmm God, I am sorry, I ate too much cha siew bao today. Also, I didn’t get to toilet on time, again. Grant me patience, like a lot of them, before I started to rip my sister’s hair apart. If you grant my wish then I will try to listen to my mom. But I could only do my best.
The most important thing is, I am a Christian. Not any other Christian -I am a Catholic Christian. What is so great of becoming a Catholic, you asked? Alright, may be you didn’t ask but I still wanted to tell you anyway hokay?! Catholic is the most sought after, most beautiful, the rarest of its kind and undeniably the purest of Christianity.
Okay, before you kinda want to put me into the fire of judgement (although I kinda deserve purgatory first but whatever) I need to let out another disclaimer: that I know the statement above is NOT true. But growing up, this is what I was made to feel. That Catholics are special and special I was -that my sins will be forgiven in a confession box, Rosary prayers will make my dreams come true and the sacramental bread is the secret passage to God’s grace. Of course this was my naive immature perceptions of Catholicism and NOT everyone is as naive as me. As for me, I grew up like (a lot of) other Catholic girls; I attended church every Sunday, memorised all the prayers, fasted every Easter, confessed (my sins) every Christmas and an active advocate of God, Jesus, Christianity. Perfect, almost. No?
Until one day, someone asked me: So, when are you going to be baptised?
I paused a loooong pause. If my eyes could kill, she would have died a thousand times. I gave her a smirk and said ‘But I am baptised. I am a Catholic.’ She tried explaining to me how baptism is your own birth of (Christianity) believe etc but I was too busy holding myself back from saying –You are not a Catholic. You couldn’t even grasp what it means, idiot.
Look who is the idiot now.
I am by no means a religious expert. I have forgotten most of the prayers that used to just rolled out of my tongue. I mostly use Bible verses to fit my defensive arguements (with hubby): Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked.Whatever a man sow, he will reap in return. And I no longer, attends the church -like a Sunday mass kinda church. Strangely enough, along the way, I am more God-like (okay, not literally) than I have ever been. As He is so present, so kind, so real and sometimes, so brutally honest -with me.
The God that I have come to love, resides in the calmness of Christianity. He embraced me with warmth every time I came back from work. He lightens my burdened heart so that I could only love. He sits next to me when it’s that time of the month and I needed to cry without knowing why. He caught me when I was telling a white lie but never passes that judgemental eyes. He who loves me, like, foolishly loves me -even when I cursed, even when I accused Him for not being on time and how He conviniently forgotten His promises.
And this same God is exceptionally terrifying. He does, He makes, He says. He is not confined to the man-made walls of self-labelled churches. His grace is not by merits nor through the sorcery of the holy bread . His forgiveness is abundant -on the streets, in the brothels, in my small room- not limited to the wooden confession boxes. His words are the bible -not your righteous interpretations of it. Ouch, I know. That’s what I felt too.
So why do I want to talk about this now?
Because it bothers me. To see a collective of boys with tattoos and long hair sat at the back of the church and everyone stirred away from them. In their hands were the oldest, most worn-out bibles I have ever seen. All I said was a silent Amen, a thousand times over.
Because it bothers me. That you are forgiven because the priest said so -only after you recite your Rosary prayers. That you’re Godly united (married) because a pastor said so -and after you paid him a small fees. That you’re a God’s disciple because you turned up for a youth camp- personal bible nights at home does not count.
Because it bothers me that each time I wanted -like really wanted- to be a part of that ‘church’ thing, you gave me a long list of pre-requisitions. That on my first day, you generously (out of kindness) surrounds me with people who raised their hands, closed their eyes and touched my head when they sing. That you need to speak in tongue that I felt like I have to fake it just so I won’t feel left out. That you are humming the verses in the bible like al natural that I needed to nod to pretend I understand.
And mostly because, just because -that sometimes you forget, I see more Jesus in you when you tell me the silly repititive jokes compared to when you’re reading your bible. That I see more Jesus in you when you secretly holds my hands compared to when you’re raising your elbows in worship. That I see more Jesus in you when you sit next to me, in silence.
So is He really, who you say He is?
P/S: I do not have any biblical quotes or verses supporting what I have written above. Everything I said is purely from my utmost transparent heart. If it is not okay and has somehow offended you, I am truly sorry. This is a part of my spiritual journey so I am just glad you’re here too 🙂 HUGS!
XX Sophie Voon