In Defense of Catholics
I enjoy worshiping at my church. I enjoy singing before our Holy God. I’m like David, who “danced before the Lord with all his might,” half-naked in the streets. Obviously I don’t dance naked in church! But I really enjoy going to church, being happy and singing about God and to God. I find so much joy in that.
I like the excitement and the freedom to worship that I find at my church. In other churches, there’s not always as much freedom to worship. You can’t raise your hands, or you stand only at prescribed times. Worship at my church is less restricted, more unbound. But other people enjoy a more structured way of worshiping. It gives them a greater feeling of intimacy with God.
I played with Mike Sweeney in Kansas City and he’s a good friend. He’s also a devout Catholic. He invited me to go to church with him, so my wife and I went. I didn’t go because I want to become Catholic. I went because Mike is my friend, and he loves Jesus just like I love Jesus. So of course I went to hang out with my buddy, to sit with him, to commune with him. There were things that went on in the service that I questioned, and I challenged him afterwards, but he’s okay with that. He challenges me too!
Catholics do an unbelievably good job of showing how God is holy. Some churches get stuck on teaching that Jesus is our best friend, and forget the holy God who sits on a throne. We forget that we need to fear God. It’s a good fear. It’s not about being scared. It’s a fear that comes from realizing that God is so holy that we literally have to take our sandals off in His presence. We’re treading on holy ground. You have to have that perspective. It’s the only possible response to Holy God.
If you do not fear God, you will not humble yourself before Him when you go before His throne. If you do not fear God, you will go before Him with pride, as if to say, “I deserve to be here.” But you don’t deserve to be there. No human being does! You have the right to be there, but that’s because you’ve been given that right through righteousness in Christ. Because of Christ, you can boldly stand before the throne of God. But you need to understand His holiness. If you walk in there without fear, you’re going to be knocked down in a hurry.
The Catholic Church does a phenomenal job of making you realize holiness. It focuses you on the magnitude of our existence: our creation by a holy God, the birth of the only man to be perfect in flesh, His death for our sins, and His resurrection by the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. Think about that. The same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead lives in us. We are involved in God. That’s awesome, in the fullest meaning of the word. It’s awe-inspiring. And that’s what I took away from the Catholic service. So while some aspects of the service weren’t really a big deal for me, I came away understanding that a Catholic service provides an awesome opportunity to just reflect on who God is. It’s certainly not offensive for me to go into a Catholic church!
I’m glad to hang out with Christians from other churches. I welcome it, and Jesus is the perfect model for it. More on this next time. See you Saturday.