Worshipping the Idols

A few weeks after arriving in Manila, I was invited by a friend to attend the worship service of a religious group called the Church of Christ. This group pride themselves in being very consistent with bible teachings. For one, they don’t use any musical instruments when singing worship songs as is the case in biblical times (as stated by my friend). They actually claim to be THE church that Christ himself established during the (Pentecost?).

Their worship service is also on Sundays. It usually begins with prayers and songs, and then a preacher gives a homily. After that more songs are sang, then a familiar ritual wherein members take the Eucharist (in their case it’s grape juice instead of wine) takes place. A donation basket is also being passed after the communion then members say the last prayer and sing the final song.

I have been attending their worship service for quite some time now. In fact it has been my only formal communication with God for about five years now. Yes, that’s how long I have not been attending mass. When I was in Zamboanga city, I only attended mass whenever it was part of a school activity or during birthdays, Christmases, and other special occasions. That is not to say though that I have been out of touch with God all this time. It’s just that I have never been a big fan of attending masses. I would rather just stay home and talk to God myself rather than have a priest conduct an elaborate ceremony with huge candles and the suffocating smell of incense.

So during the fellowship lunch of the Church of Christ last Sunday, somebody approached me and encouraged me to be baptized. In layman’s term, they wanted me to convert to their religion. They even invited me to attend bible studies as well (if I had questions).

The thing is I find it hard to leave idol worship. One thing that Protestant churches lack is obviously the very thing that distinguishes a Catholic church from other Christian churches and that is: the usage of religious images or some would say idols.

I remember my religion teacher in the Ateneo de Zamboanga University saying that we can liken the presence of religious images in catholic churches to the presence of a photo in a person’s wallet of his/her family/fiance. Although at the time that he said this, I did not necessarily believe that his justification was true and I felt that it was just what it was, a pathetic justification for a practice initiated by people long gone from the worldly world.

Currently though, I find what he said very true for me. That is exactly how I feel about the religious images in the Catholic Church. I find these religious images very comforting and inspiring.
Yes, I confess. I am an idol worshiper.

The person who was trying to convince me to leave the dark side told me that we would never know when Christ’s second coming would happen. So he was effectively telling me that I cannot enter the kingdom of God as a catholic.

The thing is I can’t categorically say that I reject catholic teachings.

What I like about this religious group is the homily wherein the preacher never fails to deliver a captivating and relevant sermon based on the bible; I also love the intimacy, and most of all I like the sincere adoration that they have for God.

But for now I am still a Catholic, comforted by the sight of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other saints through religious man made images. I am still most happy when praying in front of these images.

For now, I will continue on worshiping the idols.