Church in the car?

Every so often a group of my friends get together for a weekend of fellowship and praise. It’s great fun staying up playing guitars and drums and singing praise songs. Needless to say since it happens on the weekends the topic of what to do for church always comes up. I am always the only Catholic in the group and so I of course just go to the phone book and find the nearest Catholic church (which is very hard in NC btw). My friends will usually go to whoevers church is in that town. When we are somewhere that nobody lives, they just have “church” in the living room. One time they said they had “church” in the car.

Although they respect my wanting to get to a church they don’t seem to understand why I feel it’s so important that I make it to Mass. I started a discussion with some of them on this topic and I still haven’t figured out how to explain the difference between going to church on Sunday versus just meeting with friends and reading scripture.

They usually use the scripture that says, “Where two or more are gathered in my name…” But I read somewhere that in context that verse really has nothing to do with where the ‘church’ is and that it’s really dealing with the elders coming together to make decisions.

I can see the difference between Mass and bible study. What is the real difference, if there is one, for some non-liturgical Protestants between church on Sunday and just going to a bible study? How do you explain, in Protestant terms, why it’s important for them as well to do more than just gather in a small group and say they had “church”?

At the Last Supper Jesus said “Do this in memory of me”.
Are they having Communion in the car?

No, they are just reading scripture and sharing. They are using the idea that “where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am” as why they can have ‘church’ in the car.

[quote=picasso_13]I can see the difference between Mass and bible study. What is the real difference, if there is one, for some non-liturgical Protestants between church on Sunday and just going to a bible study? How do you explain, in Protestant terms, why it’s important for them as well to do more than just gather in a small group and say they had “church”?
[/quote]

How about the Eucharist? Your friends would have to understand the concept of a Sacrament and its affects, though. The problem is their concept of what a church is. Most protestants believe in an “invisible” church. You need to convince them of a “visible” church.

Tell them you’re just following the command given by Jesus in John 6:53-56

“Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood, has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood real drink. The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood, remains in me, and I in him.”

If nothing else, that should stir up some conversation. Then you could all spend some time studying the 6th chapter of St. John in detail for the rest of the weekend, along with possibly the institution narratives in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and especially, 1 Corinthians.

Hmm…maybe you could drag them along and let the beauty of the Mass explain. Then you could answer their questions afterward! Of course, this is assuming they are open to some interfaith journey.

Pax,

I know one of them would go, but most of them would rather stay at the house. One time I got up and went to Mass, got my oil changed in my car and came back to see them finally all a wake and finishing breakfast waiting for me to get back so I could join them in there Sunday morning thing.

I just wish there was something I could say that would make it clear that I just don’t understand how they can rationalize not going to church on Sunday just because they are not in their own town. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll go to church if one of the people’s ‘home’ church is in the area. Do they ever sit there and think…hey? why don’t I feel comfortable just going to church here…why is it that most people in this room go to different churches? I want to talk their language here, but don’t want to sound like I’m looking down on them. :confused:

Speaking as an ex-Protestant I can tell you that there are no Protestant terms or beliefs that you can use to explain the importance that the Mass holds for a Catholic.

Before my conversion, my wife and I had a difference of opinion on this. I could not understand why she needed to go to Mass. She was not inclined to try to persuade me to convert. So, the only thing that changed my view was becoming Catholic.

I think the problem here and in many other areas of dissent is our belief (and Protestants lack of belief) in the Real Pressence of Christ in the Eucharist. The life of the Church revolves around Christ. And He is constantly there for us in physical form whenever we put aside a paltry 45 minutes a week to receive Him. Without an understanding of the importance of this aspect of Catholicism, Protestants have no chance of understanding your need to attend Mass.

I think your best bet is to try to explain this to them as respectfully as possible. Then you can ask them something like “If Catholics are right about this one issue, then isn’t it an imperative to honor Christ in this way?”

Thanks! I do find it odd that while I have no problems joining them for Service that they don’t feel the same about going to Mass. Guess that says a lot about the difference of what’s going on between the two. :slight_smile:

To be honest, without the Real Presence, there is no difference between a large mainline Protestant service and a “car” service, or just a group of people gathering in a home. Any one of those situations fulfills the “wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in my name” requirement. The difference between these services and the Mass is the actual, physical presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Whether or not your Protestant friends agree with your belief, if you explain to them that we Catholics believe that we are actually participating in Christ’s sacrifice for all time, they will understand the difference between that and and “car church”.

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