In a world where food is fast, attention spans are short, and life is fast-paced, worship at St. Anthony is a counter-cultural oasis. The idea of a “McMass” is simply unacceptable. When parishioners walk in on Sunday, they do not set the timer and walk out after their allotted 45 minutes or even hour is up. No, we walk in and expect a full experience of worship. We like to sing all the verses. We extend the sign of peace to as many people as we can. We relish a baptism or a special occasion celebrated with a blessing.
This past Sunday, we welcomed an infant to the waters of the baptismal font and prayed over a couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. Next Sunday we will rejoice at 50 years of faithful service in religious life by another parishioner. These sacraments and blessings are not a signal for people to run out the door to find a quicker Mass to fulfill their obligation. They are celebrations of our faith family.
Christianity, if lived properly, is always counter-cultural. Jesus reminded the people of his day that our focus is on God, and seeking God’s ways—furthering the reign of God, that unexpected order in which the lowly are raised up and the mighty are brought down a peg or two. For us, perhaps one of the biggest challenges is time management. We feel so much pressure to be doing—working, exercising, catching up on social media, getting children from school to practice to lessons, and the myriad other activities we are told are important—that we lose sight of the importance of investing quality time with the Lord.
Coming to St. Anthony Church on a Sunday morning is a great way to get back in touch with that relationship with God. We sing, we pray, sometimes we might even clap or drum or move. We embrace one another as the face of Christ. We laugh (a lot!) and we weep (more than we’d like). I daresay most of us look forward to that good, long time in church because it allows us time to breathe. It allows the Spirit to fill us and energize us for another week. It is God’s time.