Sunday, October 14, 2007

Prayers

In the last month or so, I've started going to church. I'm an agnostic, Buddhist-leaning, atheist with a soft spot for Wicca who believes in some divine pattern and purpose to the universe, so going to church - a Christian church - is a little weird. Sometimes during the service, I feel like an anthropologist, studying the religious people in their natural habitat. But mostly I just have a nice time, and revel in the warm fuzzy feelings of peace and calm that come over me when I go. One of my favorite parts is the coffee and cakes after the service. I just chill down in the cafe, away from the ceaseless hubbub of Manhattan, have interesting conversations, and feel a part of a smaller community for a few hours.

During the service, they sometimes send around a page entitled "Our prayers." The idea is that you can write down the name of someone you have in your prayers, someone who is going through a difficult time and needs the prayers of the community. The lists go up to the Priests helpers and they take turns reading out the names so that the whole church can pray for all of the names. Putting aside the question of whether there is a divine being who can answer prayers, I believe in prayer for the same reason that I believe in the power of positive thinking. Although I'm not necessarily good at it, I believe that our minds and how we see reality can impact the world. Even if it can't help, 30 people beaming positive thoughts to one of my loved ones can't hurt.

The last time I went, I wrote down "my family and friends" on the sheet. Today, I wrote down the name of one of my best friends, and the names of her family. She and her family have experienced a very sad loss. I'm far away, so all I can do from here is think about my friend and send my thoughts out into the ether. I love her and I wish she and her family did not have to go through this.

3 comments:

Wood said...

Thank you. You are so sweet. We're okay, and I listened to your message tonight and it was so nice to hear your voice. I'll call you soon.

Gypsy said...

There is a sense of peace in churches and temples. :)

Starshine said...

That's awesome, Buttercup. I agree that being part of a smaller community is great. And I definitely believe in the power of prayer!