Sunday, August 16, 2009

How did it all begin? The story of my spirituality

Part One of a series

After we returned from the UK in 1972, my parents got involved in a prayer group at their church, and then were directed to a local couple who led them in the Life in the Spirit seminar. From there, they started attending a prayer group called "God's Dwelling" in a parish on the other side of Baltimore, which was ironically my father's boyhood parish.

While my Catholic faith hadn't meant that much to me up to that point (I was 8 or 9), I remember being touched emotionally by certain music pieces, notably a song by the Medical Mission Sisters (whom, sadly, need to be told it's no longer the '60s) and the Godspell tune "Day By Day", which our "folk group" would frequently play for communion. Next thing I knew, I was being taken to the other side of town for the prayer meetings. For a while, I was left in child care, then afterward I'd help myself to some of the punch that tasted like crushed St. Joseph aspirin.

Eventually, my mom and dad had my sister and me go through Life in the Spirit as well. What that was like for me was imitating my parents. Did I have the gift of "tongues?" I didn't know, but I'd heard plenty of other people do so, so I had an idea how to sound like it at any rate. Meanwhile, I started singing in my parish choir, as my older siblings had done. Yes, I was a soprano.

I eventually forsook the tumbling mats and games in the library and began going to the prayer meetings. A couple times, I'd burst out with a spontaneous Scripture, and I found that went over well with those in attendance. They'd all praise God and shout, but I knew this was really an affirmation of me. I didn't get as much of that as I'd wanted elsewhere, especially not in my Catholic elementary school. Most of that is a whole another post, but I will say I always craved being a lector too, and would pester my uncle -- an ordained deacon -- to give me an opportunity to do so. Most of that was self serving and attention grabbing. At the invitation of a classmate, I briefly attended a Sunday night youth group at a Lutheran church in my neighborhood, but I didn't really like it.

When I was 12, I found out we would no longer be part of God's Dwelling. Based on a "prophecy" that smaller groups should join up with larger ones in order to face the "dark times," my parents informed us we would now be part of a new group called the Lamb of God Community, operating out of Timonium.

To be continued