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MICHAEL WALSH EDITOR: Far from being an atheist I bend my knee to the spirit of Our Lord and I am otherwise of spiritual nature. Perhaps it is, for this reason, I am bemused to see the holy Cross atop churches and placed here and there inside. For what and why are these places called Christian churches? Do those ‘shepherds’ in cassocks defend their flocks let alone their supposed faith?
These piggy bank money boxes with their spires and their crosses represent only their own interests. It is my belief that Jesus Christ would never set a foot inside most churches unless he had a whip in each hand to drive the money-mad out of his home.
It would seem to me that the representation of Christ’s crucifixion would be more appropriate if placed over the doorways of medical centres and hospitals, hospices, orphanages, shelters for the homeless, prisons and truly charitable organisations.
I recall the wording inscribed on a garden sundial. ‘You are nearer to God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.’ I believe this to be true.
I don’t see God or his work in the expensive robes and recycled meaningless mantras of the priesthood, Finding Jesus is a tad difficult when I am sharing a bench in a church or chapel from which pulpit we receive little else but strange meaningless platitudes as the godless implore their congregation to seek God.
I do see saintliness in healthcare and workers for charity workers who devote their lives to helping the sick. I have yet to see in my mind’s third eye a holy halo hovering like a hula hoop over priestly heads.
Perhaps halos are limited in numbers? Is this the reason I see halos over those who care for orphans, the distressed, the elderly and the infirm, homeless, the destitute, the bereft, the distressed and those shortly destined to shrug off their mortal coils?
I don’t see holiness and the ten commandments uttered in godless parliaments. Christmas has just passed and Easter beckons but you will not find a single politician, banker or Press baron taking the sacrament, helping the needy. No, only helping themselves.
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I know of many Samaritans. They are rarely attired in cassocks or church fine raiment. I see shrines but I cannot find solace in these places. I do find spiritual comfort in the charity of a person who without the expectation of reward helps an elderly lady or gent with whatever Cross they bear. I recognise as pure only those who God and Jesus would perceive as of spiritual or even divine purpose.
When I need to reflect on life, I find better opportunities to do so on a park bench than on a church bench. In my search for the great spirit, I find it not by gazing up at a church roof but by looking up at the great starlit dome of our galaxies.
At the end of each day as I make my way home, I pass unseen the shells of churches built by parishioners of ages past. I instead make my communion with the holy spirit in my bed before sleep. Perhaps it is not such a bad thing that many churches in the West have become places of residence, storerooms, even mosques, nightclubs and bars, distribution centres for the community’s corner shops. We the people never left the church. The church left us, the people.
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