Every year I spent one week at my Aunties house. I always tried when I got older to get out of going to her religious place of worship. It is 100% different to mine. When I was young I had to go with my Mum, and also when I was young I had to go with my Auntie to hers.
It annoyed me that everything seem to be so ordered! They all knew when to kneel, some curtsy when they arrived and just before they sat in their pew, others crossed themselves. They even had candles burning around the Mother & Child.
It was sad on my part really, I didn't mean to be critical, but that was how I was brought up! To look the part. We women had to have our heads covered, no trousers or jeans to be worn, no make up and the only jewellery was her wedding ring and engagement ring. We could tell if someone was the same as us, if they looked the part, if inside a place of worship a woman had no hat on, we knew she was going to hell! Simple as! But out of respect for others if she was a visitor, a hat, scarf or hankie would be found and she would have to wear it while in the meeting.
Our singing was lively, with clapping hand sometimes raised, drums, guitars there was time given to individuals who wanted to pray. My Auntie's place of worship was quiet in comparison, on the evening it was called Evensong, that even sounds quiet! Everyone made me feel welcome, as most had known me all my life. It just did nothing for me, and it was an hour or so in my life I didn't want to waste by been there but I had no choice.
You couldn't blame me for been critical, for I am sure if my Auntie ever came to my place of worship she would have felt like a lost soul, and she wouldn't have liked the dis- order. We are all brought up differently.
But if I had to think of one thing that really, really annoyed me was the 'special days' of the year that they all had in their books of prayer, that on these days they remembered them and I suppose celebrated them. Why? I just 'celebrated' Christmas, and Easter, I didn't care about the other days. Yes, I did harvest festivals at school and at my place of worship now we still do, and that's a good thing, for it helps others, and I love the song, We Plough The Fields And Scatter.... for I grew up with it. But the other days I didn't see the point.
As I got older, I tried my best to stay at my Auntie's house, while she went to her place of worship, but I could never escape it and always end up going, mainly in the mornings. As my Auntie had got older she had decided to become Vegetarian! I thought she had done this, because it was cheaper than buying meat. I thought her parents and grandparents would have been horrified!
I was critical of them all, I just thought if they are not like me, and my place of worship, then they are fake! Then one day something happened, just after I'd been to my Aunties for the week, I was back home and reading from the Bible this was what I read:-
“Give a warm welcome to any brother who wants to join you even though his faith is weak. Don't criticize him for having different scruples from yours. For instance don't argue with him about weather or not to eat meat that has been offered to idols, you may believe there is no harm in this but the faith of others is weaker, they think it is wrong and will go without any meat at all and eat vegetables rather than eat that kind of meat. Those who think it is all right to eat such meat must not look down on those who won't. And if you are one of those who won't, don't find fault with those who do. For God has accepted them as His children. They are God's servant, not yours, they are responsible to Him not to you. Let Him tell them whether they are right or wrong. And God is able to make them so as they should. Some think that Worshippers should observe holidays as 'special days' to worship God, but others say it is wrong and foolish to go to all that trouble, for every day is alike and belongs to God. On questions of this kind everyone must decide for himself. If you have special days for worshipping the Lord you are trying to honour Him you are doing a good thing. So is the person who eats meat that has been offered to idols, he is thankful to the Lord for it, he is doing right and the person who won't touch such meat, he too is anxious to please the Lord and is thankful. You have no right to criticize your brother or look down on him … so don't criticize each other any more” Wow! I didn't know that was in the Bible, the book of Romans and Chapter 14.
He had been watching me and He had been silent for many years, He showed He loved me and my place of worship and my Auntie, He loved her too and her place of worship!
The following years after this, I saw them all as special, lovely people, eager to worship and please Him.