Easter is around the corner, and I’m going to disappoint some people again this year by electing not to attend church on Sunday. With the exception of some weddings and funerals, I haven’t been to church since 1998. I got my reasons. Mostly, it’s because of the politics that somehow got mixed up in it.
I still believe there is a spiritual component to our reality – a force that compels life into existence. I believe we should all have reverence for that life. I believe in things like humility, compassion, and charity. My values are very much in line with those of the Judeo-Christian traditions.
Some people tell me I’m going to Hell because I don’t worship God in a formal, ritualized sense. Obviously, I don’t see it that way. If I did, I’d be picking up my good suit from the dry cleaner right now. Though I don’t formally worship, I do observe and acknowledge God’s work quite often.
The more I look to Science for answers, the more I realize it’s God who made the things our Science tries to understand. Consider this: The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but the Sun is 400 times further away from the Earth than the Earth is from the Moon. This is why we get to experience the “perfect’’ solar eclipse. If the numbers were only slightly different, the Moon would obscure only some portion of the Sun, or it would simply turn the sky black by blocking 100% of the light. As it turns out, the Moon precisely blots out the body of the Sun during a total eclipse, and we are then able to observe the coronal halo that surrounds our mother star. Some people try to chalk that up as a coincidence. I see it for what it is. It’s a gift from our Creator.
And that’s just one of many mind boggling scenarios you’ll come across if you research cosmology for any length of time. It’s no wonder the likes of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein became more spiritually attuned as the result of their scientific work.
I better reel this post in a little bit so I can get back on course, which of course, is to explore some aspect of the creative writing process. So, here’s a poem I wrote about the last time I attended a regular church service. It was published in Scarlet Leaf Review Online, October 2017. Comments, questions, and criticisms are always welcome.
Keep writing, keep revising, and be kind.
The Yankee Devil Goes to Church
I’m in the deep South during the dog days,
and the Sun has not been up long, but the heat
is already like a weight pressing last night’s whiskey
out of my pores.
I step into the shadow cast by the cross on top of the steeple,
a swath of darkness cut into the searing light.
I’m an outsider here, resented for something Sherman did
more than a hundred years before I was born.
Old politics, old money, old hate, and I wonder why
I ever came to this place.
Then I see her – tall and tan, wearing a summer dress
that whispers of the sensuality beneath.
She takes my hand and leads me to the cruel oak pews,
to the brittle pages filled with beautiful words
I want to believe, but never could,
and never will.