Sundays were no different. Although our church offers mass at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, we have attended the 7:30 a.m. Sunday mass for-e-ver. I can count on two hands the times we’ve attended masses other than that one.
No sleeping in.
My mother is Catholic and we kids developed our faith and religious tendencies within our local Catholic church. I could write a whole blog about my faith journey, but will summarize with this: I have come to believe that religion and faith can be one in the same, or viewed as two different things – religion an institution and faith a relationship with something or someone greater than ourselves.
While I find comfort inside our church walls, as a child, my favorite, favorite Sunday mornings were spent at what we dubbed Dad’s Church. It wasn’t often, but on certain Sundays, we’d rush in from chores to change for mass and Dad would say, “Today we go to my church.”
He wasn’t referring to the church of his childhood – the First Congregational Church of Lee Center. If you can conjure a picture of a true country church, that would be it. I loved that church. We’d attend catechism classes at the Catholic Church and then caught Sunday school classes at the Congregational Church. As a young woman, I felt the Congregational Church was not as judgmental, not as demanding, not as rigid. Because, I was 12 and I knew everything there was to know about God and faith.
Dad’s Church wasn’t a building; it was wherever the car took us that morning. Sometime we’d head up to the river with a box of donuts and bottled orange juice. We’d sit on the bank just watching and listening and breathing in nature, consuming the purest form of God’s wonder.
Sometimes we’d visit the state park and hike a short trail or sometimes we’d just stay home and at Dad’s request take a few moments in silence outside on the backdoor to inhale the day.
Attending Dad’s Church wasn’t about throwing off the chains of institutional religion, but more about connecting with what is the lifeblood of any farmer or rancher – his/her relationship with nature. Our livelihood depends on how we function in the confinement of our particular environment. How we see soil or trees. How we perceive rain and sun, as blessings or curses.
I think our father wanted us kids to understand that a prayer has as much power when said kneeling at an altar as it does when said standing in a pasture. And sometimes, that’s all a farmer has to hold on to.
Read more 30 Days of Farm Girl Faith
- Introduction: 30 Days of Farm Girl Faith
- Day 2: When A Farm Kid Explains Noah’s Ark
- Day 3: Stepping Out From Under My ‘Holy Umbrella’
- Day 4: Post Double Take: #Wordless Wednesday Sit Still
Find a list of other 30 Day bloggers here.