The First Sunday of Each Month
I believe I was born again two years back when my grandmother expired. I felt like an entirely new person when I started to attend church for the first time in my life, with the hope that I would be able to grasp the real reasons for life and death. I did not wish to see my grandmother’s death through the lens of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. She was not just a part of my close-knit family and my father’s mother; her personality was akin to that of an angel for all members of my family of orientation, that is, the people I had grown up with and remained closed to throughout my life. It was she who taught me the difference between morality and deviance. Although I had been intently studying the theory of evolution described in science magazines, mainly because of my interest in new creative thoughts in the field; I did not wish to believe that she had simply disappeared into nothingness – back to some kind of primordial soup, if not a black hole that the science of astronomy speaks of.
I joined a group of people with whom I could start attending church once again. I had wanted to learn how to pray for peace, both for myself and my grandmother. My father had attended church regularly in his youth. But, for some reason, the nuclear family he had established did not practice religion at all. My father told me that he stopped attending church soon after his marriage, perhaps because he became overly enthusiastic about the present life at the expense of the hereafter. His marriage was based on romantic love, after all. He was too happy to remember death followed by an afterlife at church. He also informed me that popular public opinion goes against church attendance; that, in fact, it is not considered fashionable any longer to attend church in order to pray to God. Moreover, he claimed that almost all members of his extended family (except me) were now used to praying to God in the privacy of their homes. In fact, his brother and one of his sisters got together to pray quite often.
I could not convince my father to join the group of people that I started attending church with. But, my religious experience with the group was marvelous enough for me to stop missing his absence at church. All of them believed in good souls like my grandmother. What is more, many of the people in my group were new to the sacred precincts of the church and without prior knowledge of church rituals. This made me feel comfortable with them. After all, I had not been trained in confessing to ministers and listening to hymns in the church. My grandmother had instilled in me the belief that racism and negative prejudice may cause terrible harm between people. Of a certainty, this is part of the reason why I felt welcomed in the group of people of diverse races and cultures whom I had joined for church attendance.
The church we attended was part of an edge city, next to a residential complex that was close to highway intersections. It was one of the best churches, according to my peer group in the city. None of them could attend church with me either, even though we had many common interests to get together for. Because of the time it took for me to commute, I decided I could only manage to attend church the first Sunday of each month. As luck would have it, the first Sunday of each month was the best day at church anyway – at least for those that sought a communion of the spirit with the intellect. It was the first Sunday of the month that the church invited guest speakers for intellectual discussions on the interaction between faith and societal happenings. The relationship of spirituality with the history of humanity was also part of these lively discussions.
Looking back on my church attendance during the past two years, I realize that I did not only get to learn about the peace that my grandmother deserves in an afterlife, but I also got to hear about essential problems related to lack of faith. One of the guest speakers in my church spoke about power and prestige corrupting ordinary souls, especially in the world of politics. According to him, it is of the essence to bear God in mind in order to avoid the pitfalls of corrupt politics. He discussed the spirit of capitalism to boot, and how it may increase social inequality or widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Another guest speaker discussed the differences between a patriarchy and a matriarchy, coming to the conclusion that it is best for authority to be balanced in a way that both patriarchal and matriarchal institutions may coexist. After all, he said, the spirit of God does not discriminate on the basis of gender.
I would never forget the day I attended a speech by the most gifted speaker at church, a man of true charisma. He repeatedly spoke of the caste system and social stratification, expressing his belief that the capitalist class may simply crush the proletariat if fear of God is absent. He mentioned that fear of God is necessary in order for us to refrain from wrongdoing. Also according to him, dehumanization is possible if the master class refuses to follow the mores that it has essentially set for itself. In other words, families of capitalists may follow a set of values in their homes. With the underclass, however, they may behave entirely differently. As an example, they may practice non-violence at home but treat their poor workers as wild animals are treated. Hypocrisy is evident in such behavior, which is why, according to the speaker with charismatic authority – it is necessary to read the scriptures, pray, and stay close to the spirit of God. He reminded the people at the church that day of the afterlife. According to him, fear of God does not only keep us from wrongdoing but also ensures a good afterlife.
I had gone to search for answers regarding my grandmother’s death and ended up gaining a lot more knowledge than I had expected. I continue to attend church the first Sunday of each month for this reason. It is not only helping me to become a more peaceful person than before, but also allowing me to look upon society as never before. Now I may actually think of solutions to societal problems. I was completely immature in my spiritual life before I was reborn at the church.