So, a while back I made a decision: I was not going to attend my parents' church any more. You can read about it here.
And the next time I went to visit, I didn't go to church. And no one died.
And then, as I prepared for a weekend visit last week, I remembered something about growing up with my dad:
when the introduction to the hymn starts playing, he sings or hums along. Yep, during the introduction, the part during which you are supposed to be quiet. When I was little I would say, "Daddy! you aren't supposed to sing now!" He would grin at me and keep doing it. It was embarrassing.
Now-a-days, both of my parents do it. But I don't find it embarrassing. I really find it quite endearing. Especially in my father, who does very few things that he is not supposed to do.
I realized that if I didn't go to church, I would miss that. So I went on Sunday.
If I had not gone, I would have missed the early singing...and I would also have missed hearing my dad serve as lector, to read from Job 19:23-27:
O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
What a treasure, to hear that witness, and those words that I know he means with all his heart. He is 88 years old; and if he died this afternoon, he would be quite ready.
My parents raised me as a Christian, and as a lover of music. We all took guitar lessons together and went places toting four guitar cases, playing in the Folk Mass at church. Those formative things in my life have very much made me who I am, and I will always have them to treasure. Going to church together is a gift. I am grateful for it.