Religion doesn’t play a very important part in my life. If someone were to ask me my views on the subject, I would be rather at a loss of what to say, except that a lot of problems in the world seem to stem from intolerance and ignorance of other peoples beliefs.I really couldn’t say if I were an agnostic, an atheist or maybe I can consider myself as a Christian because I can recall some of the stories from the New Testament.
Once a week, I teach the children in my class of five year olds RE. Many moons ago when I was in primary school it was called scripture lessons, and then at secondary school we were taught RK. In those long gone days, these lessons solely focused on christianity. Thank goodness times have changed. This year the children in my class have learned about Jesus, but we will be moving on to judaism shortly and as we have muslim children in the class we have talked about significant events in the Muslim calender as they occur. It’s fair to say that the children look forward to their RE lesson and are inquisitive and always to keen put across their own points of view. They are at that wonderful age when the thoughts of angels in heaven and miracles happening fill them with wonder.
Yesterday I attended the christening of the gorgeous wee one of a friend of mine. It was the first time I had set foot in a church for ages. On the last few occasions when I have been it was a to attend a funeral of an elderly relative.Sadly it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a church to celebrate a happy event. It must be something to do with my age ! I really didn’t know what to expect.especially as I’ve only ever attended one christening before now.The church was packed, almost to the point where it was standing room only.The congregation wasn’t just made up of people attending the christening. Most people there were regulars. Sadly, the majority of them were elderly and it made me wonder if in time that meant that the now filled pews would steadily become emptier as these regular worshipers finally met their maker. Sitting there, trying to follow the service I couldn’t help but notice how friendly and welcomuing everyone was. If I got lost following the text in my little blue book, someone was quick to put me back on track. We sang lots of hymns. I knew none of them, but the tunes were easy to pick up. Pity there wasn’t All Things Bright and Beautiful. I really could have belted that one out ! Rather than yawning my way through the sermon, I found myself nodding in agreement. It wasn’t preachy at all, it just made sense. I came away feeling strangely content and dare I say it, uplifted. My experence doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to spend my Sunday mornings at church, but I can understand a little more why people go.
Since yesturday I’ve been thinking back to my childhood and what religion meant to me then. My sister and I were sent to Sunday School from an early age. Not, I think because our parents were concerned for our spiritual welfare, but more likely because it meant that they got a bit of peace and quiet for a few hours without having to fork out more than a few pennies for the collection box. We were left to choose which church to spend those hours, and I soon cottoned on that some Sunday Schools were better than others. If there were rumours that a certain church had a Sunday School outing to Weymouth rather than the local park for a picnic, I would be beating at their door begging to be taught all about Jesus and his disciples. Little did they know that as soon as the outing was over they wouldn’t see me for dust.I joined the Salvation Army so that I could learn to play a tambourine with colourful ribbons tied to it and march through the streets showing off my newly learnt skills.At a packed methodist hall in Bristol I took up the offer of “giving myself to God” in front of hundreds of people. At 13 I decided that I wanted to become a nun after watching the film based on the life of Saint Bernadette. I prayed nightly for ages that the Virgin Mary would appear before me. Alas, my prayers were never answered.
When the boys were born we decided not to have them christened. Their dad had no time for religion after his mum died so it seemed wrong to go ahead in something he did not believe in. I took the boys to the Christingle services in our very pretty village church. They even went to Sunday school once or twice, but the lure of the Game-boy won out and neither returned. I went along to a couple of services, but they were a strange mix of high brow and happy clappy. religion.Talk about confusing!
Everyone is entitled to their own views concerning religion. Personally I can’t be doing with the evangelical,born again christian type of religion. But that’s just my opinion. Religion is a very personal thing. I shall carry on going to church once in a blue moon, Listen to Carols from Kings at Christmas and hope to enthuse a one or two 5yr olds once in a while!