Let me tell you about a liturgy I attended while I was visiting my sister in another state which shall remain nameless (Florida). The building was round with a labyrinth outside it. Hmmm, I thought as my tentative footsteps echoed on the stones, Well, it’s too late to leave now. I have no idea where another church is. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I suspect it will be. And it wasn’t. It was worse!
I steeled my nerves and opened the door to what I would normally call the nave, but I’m not sure what to call the area in which I found myself. Icons stood on stands all around the outer circle and those were a nice touch. But I couldn’t find Christ. No tabernacle. And nothing obstructed my view, either. I couldn’t find Him because He wasn’t there. I discovered later that they had built a small chapel for Him off to the side and down the hall. Great, guys, that’s the spirit! (Not the Holy Spirit, true, but a spirit, nonetheless.)
When the liturgy began, I almost walked out. I thought I had stumbled into a theater and was witnessing an early matinee. Lay people intoning things I’m used to hearing the priest intone. And it wasn’t in chant, nope, it was in Broadway stage style. So I wasn’t surprised when the Andrew Lloyd Weber “hymns” started up. Ugh.
But the best part was when the priest took to the stage, er, the sanctuary. (Uh, I guess it was a sanctuary. I mean, it was a great big cube in the center of the floor. That was the sanctuary, right?) And then he gave a nice talk about something, I’m not sure what, but I couldn’t identify it as a homily and I don’t remember noticing anything particularly Catholic about it. Nope, he could’ve been a speaker at any number of New Age seminars and he wouldn’t have been out of place at all.
But I felt terribly out of place in that “church”. It was an awful experience. I will not go back there again. I’d rather drive fifty miles down the road instead of the three miles it takes to get to that one from my sister’s house. Never again. Shudder!