BINGO, 21Feb – #368

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368

This is another “processing therapy piece” for my old Catholic upbringing… I sat and prayed just ten minutes in a new huge expensive Catholic church on Thursday with new ornate stained glass, and such beautiful Mary images… But it’s my old churching that floods memories to me for processing… My memories and two completely independent “random” discussions with former Catholics last Thursday night… a triple play of memories… Then BINGO at son’s school Friday night…. Noisy and fun BINGO, not so serious as those Friday night memories as a child working Catholic school BINGO… Memories of ALL those old Catholic RITUALS flood to me….

BINGO, 21Feb

It’s fun to play BINGO, i was raised Catholic and it was part of the fabric of the community I was in. Yet I know that John Wesley forgo all games of chance in the Methodist tradition, and I do understand his reasoning… God picks you for HIS own, just like He saved John Wesley from that horrific fire as a babe, God is planning a life for YOU, if you accept it… God is NOT blessing you by chance, but God is gracing and gifting purposefully…. God gives HOPE…. LIFE by GRACE – NOT by chance, so in the Methodist tradition there are no raffles, no games of chance, no BINGO….

I was raised Catholic, I was raised on BINGO… The smoke-filled gym at my Catholic school… My parents forced working the high stakes event (seemingly because there was a’lot of money raised) BINGO, top prize $200 at the end of the night… We as kids worked the concession stand, sold candy on a cart down the aisles… those real glass soda bottles, candy and more candy… And cleaned up after under the guidance of tired tireless workerbee custodian Mrs C… And the people, those regulars Friday nights… Yelling “shake’m up, shake’m up” when they were displeased with the numbers (OR the caller)… And the rituals, number 66 (I think) made the faithful ring bells, I can hear the cow bell, the lady actually brought a cow bell to BINGO… Other numbers other rituals… The clink of the magnetic chips… The claps of them flipping the pressed wood-like “lap boards” over… I hear them, I smell the smoke, I know the rituals…

Mary’s statue was discolored by smoke at Bingo… We Catholics (former and current) revere Mary as you were taught to revere the old people at church… They had lived thru a lot of pain… a war and great depression… Children of poor hungry immigrants ripped from their homeland to find freedom in America… They wanted the best for their children… They were the ones who sacrificed for your successful life in America… Likewise, Mother Mary was the one who sacrificed her “normal-life” to birth and raise God… and then only to see the brutal death of her son AND her God…. PS – You don’t have to worship Mary as a Catholic, but it’s good that you respect her, you must remember your pain was probably nothing compared to hers losing her Son… Her choosing by God means you are chosen by God too… Let her remind you to rely on God too… perhaps the role model as told in Luke 1:38 will help you – “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Many of those people at BINGO probably thought they were getting their little dose of church in, just like folks today… Sometimes even a pancake breakfast with prayers of Grace suffices for some… Likely the feel of a warm community was what drew the people to BINGO on Friday nights, as opposed to other gambling meccas (and you know how pervasive games of chance are ingrained into our society)… Here they raised money for the Catholic school… for the children… For teaching God’s children… The people were praying for BINGO, but their donations were for me, my education, my future, my future walk with God… Where two meet in God’s name…

Catholic rituals, can’t shake them, and yes many of us “recovering Catholics” miss them… I paid attention to stay awake in Catholic masses as a child… But I memorized the rituals… The kneeling, the hand motions, the bells, the reverence…. Sure it was quiet time for prayer (or not)…. But you had to respect the reverence… No Latin masses for me, but those old people – they remembered… They revered and knew their rituals cold… It was cold in that huge church… It was warmer in BINGO…

The Passion of Christ – that I paid attention to at Lenten Masses… The priests (who normally were stick-figured randomness to me as a child) all of a sudden spoke reverently and feverishly during HOLY Week… Strong and passionate about the Easter story… They ALL came to that service, they read the play by play of Jesus at the last supper, of Jesus being betrayed by Judas – I could hear the clink of the silver pieces…. Yes, the stories of the garden, the slice off of that ear, the rooster crowing, Peter denials were my denials too… The long dragging of Jesus and HIS Cross thru the streets, up the hill… the blood, the sweat, the onlookers pulled in to help… The cries of the mothers…. The stations of the cross made real…. The crucifixion… The nails… You could see and feel the nails and the pain in the actual wood painted figure hanging there… Jesus’s face not dead on that cross, but writhing in pain, sad for his lost children.. Powerful passionate purposeful portrayal… Pain…. Mockery, gambling for HIS clothes, a crown of thorns, the dark death… The thundering skys scorned… The tomb…. Gone… Jesus was plain gone… … Jesus simply gone from his devoted and now terrified and confused disciples… How could God work like this? How could God leave all of them hanging…. Yes Jesus told them he would go away but surely they must have felt LOST…. It wasn’t just Jesus who died, but probably the faith of many who believed but were then lost… This was God’s plan… Why?…

Why stir the souls so passionately with this death story?… Perhaps to awaken them to the LIFE story… To awaken our souls to NEW LIFE… Forever LIFE…. Jesus died to give LIFE… Jesus was passionately living to die… To LIVE again… GOD’S PLAN IS FOR US TO LIVE FOREVER WITH HIM.

RITUALS… Real… reawakening…

The kneeling, the stations of the cross, the clap of wooden lap boards as they flipped them over at BINGO…. The life of the people going thru the rituals… The clinging to each other for support in joy and troublesome times…The clinging to HOPE for a BINGO win is nothing compared to the clinging to the CROSS for ETERNAL HOPE…

JESUS bore HIS cross, to bear you LIFE… Be reborn in Christ to feel HIS pain to FEEL that released freedom of LIFE in heaven… when HIS arms went free so did yours… Your sins forgiven… Free pass to heaven for you and me…

Free salvation… FREE LIFE… FREE LOVE…

But you have to believe that… You have to KNOW you were freed…

The passion of God IS for YOU… It’s YOU, God wants…. It’s ALWAYS been about YOU…

Follow the passionate life, death and life of Jesus… Help take Jesus down off HIS cross this Easter, to believe that in three days you can RISE with HIM… He knows the way home. Home is for all those who believe they need Jesus as a Savior.

Whether you ritualize your memories OR make them all new… God is alive so your faith can be too… God wants YOU forever…

Thanks God for your passionate LOVE for US… FOR ME…

The passion of God IS FOR YOU…

BINGO YOU WON!

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