Can pancakes bring us closer to Jesus?
Could a baseball game get us to Heaven?
Has John-Paul finally lost his mind?
Considering I’m only a week into classes here at Franciscan I would hope the answer to that last question is no. However, the other two require some background and discussion. And no, the first question has nothing to do with a pancake looking like a large floppy host.
There are still many people in America that go to church. We go to church on Sunday to worship the Lord at the beginning of the week to remember both the eternal God who began creation on this day, and rested on this day. We celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord which on this day re-created the world by gaining triumph over death and when we take time to rest. Sunday is the first and greatest festival of the Christian life.
In the American culture of our day, the idea that Sunday is a day to worship God and rest from our work has been lost. In a society that is falling further and further way from the Gospel, there needs to be something tangible to connect it with Christianity again. Our society says to compartmentalize our lives. The standard in our culture is to separate religion from politics; to divorce family life from work, and the list goes on. The Christian faith is one of integration, where our faith informs our daily lives: the way our families function, the way we work, and the values that we hold in the public square. The faith is meant to be incarnated in our lives, just as God became incarnate (became flesh) for our salvation. The question I propose to you is this: What are we doing to make our faith “become flesh,” in other words how does our faith integrate with the way we live?
Not only does this start with going to church on Sunday, but should be continued throughout the day through celebration with family and friends. I have a close friend who goes out to breakfast with some extended family faithfully every Sunday. I had the privilege of going once and experiencing this tradition of his family, which included not only pancakes, but a festive environment to talk and enjoy each other’s presence. “Jumping” into that tradition made me think of my own family traditions and the way that we celebrate Sunday.
Here at Franciscan many people gather every Saturday afternoon to celebrate the Lord’s day. This is a tradition where we open the Sunday Scriptures, and share our own reflections, we sing songs praising God, and discuss those events of the past week where we saw God present.
It’s in traditions like these that the faith is made present in day to day life. Just like the kids know it’s Thanksgiving when they have turkey and go over to grandma’s house for the entire day, so too, they’ll know it’s Sunday when they go to Church and go to Denny’s to color with Aunt Patti, or perhaps spend the day making pizza and enjoying it with the family.
Without these traditions, these material expressions of the faith, one becomes stuck in American “consumerist” culture. Christianity becomes disconnected from everyday life and the only Christian thing a person does is attend church on Sunday. Then a generation or two down the line, going to church has loses its importance. Those that loose the connection that the faith has to their everyday lives will unconsciously go along with whatever direction the winds of American culture takes them.
This is the story of America in the past 100 years or so. Many of our ancestors who moved over from foreign lands brought with them traditions that they kept on Sundays and other various Christian holidays. New generations of families are disconnected from their land and slowly become disconnected from their traditions, in order to find an American culture. Along the way we lost what made us Christian and are now not united by faith, but often times by the work that we do, and the things that we buy, which does not make much of a culture at all. By practicing traditions and establishing a Christian American culture at home, we can connect the way that we live with the faith that we believe. So eating pancakes and going to a father-son baseball game can be a way that we baptize the world.