Long before I became a Catholic Christian, I was a huge fan of Contemporary Christian music. In fact, I still am. We live in a valley and Immaculate Heart Radio doesn’t come in very well in certain areas and so I switch over to the local Contemporary Christian station until I am in Immaculate Heart territory.
Since becoming Catholic, however, I have noticed a few things have changed about how I feel about this genre of music. First of all, I catch myself singing along and then stopping to realize that a particular song is not quite theologically correct. Some are even flat out wrong. Truthfully, I think I can probably thank my fellow Catholic Sistas for most of those a-ha moments!
The second thing I have noticed is about the songs themselves. Popular artists such as Casting Crowns , Third Day, Michael W Smith, and others write song after song about the good that we as Christians should be doing in our world. Caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, welcoming the troubled into our arms, protecting unborn life…. sound familiar?
These songs used to move me. I mean, really move inside of me to say- Yes, Heidi, I’m talking to you…stand up and DO something. Don’t just keep sitting there. I was sure these artists were correct in their ascertation that it was our responsibility as Christians to care for those less fortunate than ourselves in all times, in all places, and in all ways. In fact I spoke up in our Lutheran Bible study on more than one occasion asking, “Why we wouldn’t WANT to do these things in response to the abundant mercy that Our Heavenly Father shows towards us?”
I felt so frustrated by a general lack of empathy and compassion towards others among so many of my protestant brothers and sisters. Of course there are those who were called to action and made a great difference, but it was always such an extra. Those were the “good” people, but it was equally ok not to have time for that sort of thing. It was always looked at as optional, or a bonus, but definitely not required. Definitely not in anyway related to our eternal destination, despite the fact that the Bible so clearly says differently.
Fast forward past a few years, through our family’s coming home, and I discovered that in fact these things are happening every day in the Catholic Church. The members of the Catholic Church are actively and vibrantly involved in protection of the unborn, refugee ministries, prison ministries, and more. Some members are called to be involved in the trenches, others through financial donations, and still others through the often under-appreciated ministry of prayer.
As I was reading through Surprised by Truth, by Patrick Madrid, I realized I was not alone in my thoughts. One convert shared that in his role as a minister he found himself preaching about good works, convicted that the Bible clearly supported the importance. Only to have the message go straight over his congregation’s head as meant for someone else…you know, those really awful bad people who need to turn their lives around and live for Christ.
They are singing along to their music without listening to the words with their hearts.
What if the church for heaven’s sake, finally stepped up to the plate. Took and stand upon God’s promise and stormed hell’s rusty gates…What if the family turned to Jesus? Stopped asking Oprah what to do.*
Indeed, I wonder? What if “the church” did that?
Actually, I don’t have to wonder. The Church I now belong to is deeply committed to every single one of the areas mentioned in the above song: protection of the unborn, Biblical family life, prayer for world leaders, kids praying in schools, and more. They are not only praying, they are acting. They are being the hands and feet of Jesus in our broken and lonely world through their actions, their donations, and yes their prayers.
Even though this is a call I have been hearing for quite some time now I still struggle. How much time? How much money? Which ministries? How do I involve my family or find the time to serve alone away from family? I would be the last to claim that doing the Lord’s work on Earth is easy, but the benefits are truly out of this world!
*From “What If His People Prayed” by Casting Crowns. You can read the entire lyrics, here.
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Heidi is a convert to Catholicism, confirmed with her husband in August of 2011. She is a teacher turned homeschooling mom to five children on earth and a beautiful baby girl named Kenna who was stillborn in 2007. You can read more about Heidi and her family at Work and Play Day by Day.