Quote of the Day:  Before I share the quote, I need to confess that I attended a Catholic Mass this morning. I am a born and Baptized Lutheran. I’ve been a church musician, in the Lutheran Church, most of my life. I’m raising my kids Lutheran. And, there I sat in the St. Francis Catholic Church this morning, listening to the priest’s message about “Actions speak louder than words.” I’ll tell you the main motivation for my attendance in a bit.

According to The National Catholic Reporter, the new Pope Francis has been dubbed “The Pope of Mercy.” Ah, my word for the day for the Advent Photo A Day Project. Here’s what he says about mercy and the Catholic Church. 

The revolution under Francis is not one of content, but of tone. He believes it’s time for the church to lift up its merciful face to the world, in part because of its own self-inflicted wounds and in part because of the harsh and unforgiving temper of the times. This is a pope who will look for every chance to express compassion, steering clear of finger-wagging unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Stained-glass windows, a standard in Catholic Churches, illustrate the story of Christ.
This one appears to be sharing the bread.
I was looking for one on Mercy. I believe sharing what we have and inviting others into our abundance is a way to show mercy. 
Mercy is also forgiveness and compassion.
I am a proud piano teacher today. My student, Annie, asked her music teacher at school if she could play one of the songs they usually sing at Mass, as the accompanist. We worked on it together. She needed to do the left hand chords on her own. The music has only the melody line. She handled that excellently, practiced, played for me and a friend to sing to get a feel for accompanying, then played it for her class. Today, she was the accompanist during Mass for the whole school, plus some adults. I nearly got tears in my eyes. One of my main goals as a piano teacher is to raise up more accompanists. Annie will be using that skill all her life.

I sneaked up to the choir loft to snap this photo before Mass started.
There she is, rockin’ the “Seek Ye First” song!
She did superb!
Ooo, are my buttons bursting with pride?!
Annie’s mom, Lisa, told me that Annie would be playing for Mass. I asked if I could attend, “Do they allow Lutherans?” She said that she could disguise me as a Catholic if I backed into my parking space, for a quick get-away, and leave right after communion. I’m sure they pegged me as an outsider the minute I walked in since I didn’t know you were supposed to dip your fingers in the water basin at the door. I didn’t kneel or say all the right words at the right time. I did, however, sing the songs I had the words for, extra loud during Annie’s number, and I said my prayers in my own way. I had just learned that Pastor Glenn Leaf, from my former church, had passed away, so I said a prayer for his family. He was a wonderful person and an outstanding pastor.

I had thoughts of Mary the mother of Jesus while at the Mass. I thought of mercy and grace, how we show it, when we receive it. I think that it takes the form of compassion and forgiveness. It is an openness to all people and an invitation.

After the service, Lisa, Krista and I headed straight to the pub for lunch and a beer. They said it’s the Catholic way. The fellowship is my favorite part of going to church!

The Last Turn Saloon, a place of ghost stories and creative conversation.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  When have you felt or shown mercy? Have you ever attended a worship service at a different church from your own? How did you feel?