We are approaching fifty years since Time magazine declared on its cover “God is Dead”. That was on April 8th 1966. Time was the great voice of the English Speaking world at that time and what it said was gospel. Years before Time came out and declared the death of God, I and a most of my generation walked away from what we had come to think of as old fashioned, meaningless mambo jumbo. Besides, church was where old people and people of power and wealth and people of the establishment went. We of the new enlightened generation wanted nothing to do with them and their ideas. That was our great rebellion. I took delight in telling my mother that I was at the flea market when I was supposed to be in church on a Sunday morning. I was tweaking her helpless and despairing nose. My poor beloved, darling mother, God rest her!
We looked at churches from the outside, as curiosities. Sometimes when I went to a new town and saw an unfamiliar church I would venture in to look wonderingly at the architecture, the statues and the colourful windows. Churches for me were just dinosaurs, detached from life, existing purely for their historical value.
Today, sitting at Mass, listening to music rising to the rafters, candles flickering, smell of incense in the air a priest moving in his colourful vestments handling golden objects, I was thinking why did I miss out on all this just to make a point? Where would I get a chance to peacefully sit in a thousand year old building on pews hundreds of years old? Where would I have sunlight slashing suddenly through multi-coloured glass to catch my breath? That hour in church was completely mine to sit in peace and meditate along with like minded people. This was better than peering into empty, dark, dead churches. This church was alive with people and sound and lights and smells from my childhood.
I became aware that the mistake my generation made was to juxtapose God and church. They are two distinctly different things. The church is a material object of this earth. God is an abstract idea which does not have to have a relevance to a church. It does not help when over zealous preachers in churches tried to force God down our throats. We then walked away. Now is a different time. Those over zealous preachers have given up and gone in search of new flocks. Why would I still sulk and keep away, I thought. That would be like not going to music concerts because Status Quo do not play anymore.
It is the first Sunday of Lent and I thought from now on Sundays are going to be for me fundays. The flea market can wait. Also the church is my rebellion against consumerism. Go anywhere else on a Sunday and you are consuming something. If you stay at home you are caught up in a digital nightmare of games, digital TV, digital music, digital cookers, hoovers and coffee machines. In a church I do not have to push buttons for a whole hour. I have never stopped being a rebel. We were always a rebellious generation. This is my rebellion!