First church service

Yesterday night I passed a milestone of sorts. I attended my first real church service. It may seem kind of surprising in a society as religious as this to go 21 years without attending the kind of thing many people attend every weekend, but let me explain. First of all, my mother is Jewish, and I did go to a few synagogue services when I was younger (mostly for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs though). I just never had any occasion to go to a church service though; none of the people I’m closest to are religious at all. I did go to a Kent Hovind performance once, and there was a little bit of prayer there before the main event, but I wouldn’t call it a serious service.

Anyway, the service was nice. It lasted just under an hour, which was rather surprising to me. There was some talking and a lot of singing. The singing was nice; I even recognized one of the tunes as non-secular in nature (Greensleaves) that had religious lyrics superimposed on top of. Despite never having been to a church service before, I still knew most of the prayers and most of the songs, and was able to keep pace. That’s how much religion splashes over into society.

I can’t really say I had any negative impressions of it. Everyone was nice, and I could clearly see that most people there appeared to be getting something out of it. I wasn’t getting quite the same thing out of it, but it was an interesting cultural experience nonetheless. I even went up front to take communion when the time came around (this being a Presbyterian church, unlike the Catholics, they don’t appear to prohibit non-believers from doing so). Their wine tasted like Manischevitz, I’ll be honest.

Overall, I’m glad I went. Now I understand a little bit more of what drives some of the people around me. The female preacher was also very thankful that we brought my grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, and never would have been able to make it on her own. Although she can’t talk much anymore, she did express appreciation at being taken (when her husband said she wouldn’t get anything out of it and there was no point in going). I’m just glad that she left the Baptish Church she had been with for most of her life — as far as I can tell, they’re much stricter than the Presbyterians (and more looney, too).

And besides, there’s something aesthetic about singing Silent Night in a darkened church while everyone holds a lit candle. It wasn’t a religious feeling, but it was nice.

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