Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Polish Wedding




Forgive me for posting this a day late, but we're busy getting ready to return to the States the beginning of February and my post got pushed back. A few months ago Ginger and I were invited to our first Polish wedding. Our language teacher married a soldier in the Polish army and we were honored to be invited to the ceremony. I have a couple of observations about our experience. First, the woodwork, stained glass windows, and metal work in the church were spectacular. The attention to detail was astonishing. Second, the greeting of the bride and groom at the close of the ceremony was not for the claustrophobic. Finally, artwork aside, the building felt large, cold, and empty. Certainly a metaphor for the Roman Catholic Church. We were saddened to see so many bowing to man made idols and clinging to family heirlooms for some kind of hope. The dedication of some RCC followers is both convicting and heartbreaking. I watched as people came in off the street to the confessional. Instead of being told of their need for the Savior they were sent away with prayers and penance to accomplish. In some ways they are so close to the truth yet their continued belief in justification through righteous acts will damn them. II Timothy 3:7 came to mind "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Pray for the people of Poland.

8 comments:

Annette said...

I was not expecting humor to flash across the bottom of the screen...thanks of making me laugh!

On a serious note...so very sad about people being turned away from the church...but I guess you can "see" the need in Poland for you to be there!

Matt and Courtney Jones said...

dude, don't you have to be on the field for like 5 or 6 months before you can go on furlough? Missing cheeseburgers that much, huh?

The Stover Family said...

Cheeseburgers and golf--but it looks like we're gonna live about a mile from a golf course. I'll pray for you every time I get a hole in one.

Barbara C. said...

With this post you display your absolute ignorance of Catholicism. People go to the confessional because they KNOW that they need Christ...they go to physically say they are sorry to God and physically hear that they have been forgiven for their recent sins (btw they are not forgiven by the priest he is merely God's steward). And if there is a little red light over the tabernacle or the consecration occurs than a Catholic church is NEVER empty...Christ is always physically there.

The Catholic Church IS centered in Christ. Christ is the entire purpose of the Mass. And those people weren't bowing before idols. They were asking those saints whom the statues represent for their intercession just like family photos remind you of your loved ones or you ask a friend to pray for you, except asking a friend that you KNOW is already in heaven.

It's one thing if you don't agree with Catholic interpretations and understandings, but could you at least please learn what the Catholic Church really teaches rather than spread the same old erroneous anti-Catholic propaganda? Buy a copy of the Catholic Catechism or at least Catholicism for Dummies. Please.

The Stover Family said...

Barbara,

Thanks for commenting, it's been a while since I've updated the blog. Can I ask how you found it? As to your comments, you said

"People go to the confessional because they KNOW that they need Christ...they go to physically say they are sorry to God and physically hear that they have been forgiven for their recent sins (btw they are not forgiven by the priest he is merely God's steward)"

I have a couple of questions for you that might help me respond better to your post. On what basis is your sin forgiven after going to confessional? How can the priest say authoritatively that God has forgiven you? You say that the priest is merely God's steward, would you agree if I described his role as a mediator between you and God?


You also said,

"And those people weren't bowing before idols. They were asking those saints whom the statues represent for their intercession just like family photos remind you of your loved ones or you ask a friend to pray for you, except asking a friend that you KNOW is already in heaven."

This sounds like a nice little word game on your part. They were physically kneeling in front of these statues, and in some instances kissing or rubbing. How does this not violate the 2nd commandment in Exodus 20? Exodus 20:4 states "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (esv)

That verse seems pretty clear, it doesn't seem to make allowances for making images of people who have been granted "sainthood" by the Catholic church? So according to the Catholic church, one can pray to saints and ask for intercession? So can both priests and saints intercede to God on your behalf? How does this teaching not violate the Bible, specifically I Timothy 2:5---"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (esv)

Notice that there is no room in that verse for saints or Catholic priests to be our mediator. "There is ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

Barbara C. said...

I found your site when recently I went in for my first prenatal exam with my fourth child. They had a family postcard on display in the office. I found it rather strange that there were Christian missionaries in Poland, which has such a surplus of Catholic priests, that it is supplying the U.S..

We believe that priests receive their authority from Jesus through the Apostles (John 20:23). Apostolic authority has been physically passed on (through the laying on of hands) through each generation of priests. Because God created all things physical and knew that humans live in a physical world, He developed physical ways for His people to interact with him like physical confession.

The priest can say that you are forgiven, but the absolution is not valid if one confesses with the full intention of committing the same sin again or does not follow through with their penance. The absolution is conditional. However, God knows that there is a physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort for those who are sincere in physically hearing that their sins have been forgiven. And the graces that are transferred in such cases encourage a person to follow Jesus more closely.

As for my explanation of statues, it is not a "word game". This is the actual teaching of the Catholic Church. Statues and such are family photos, because we believe our family includes the living and the dead. People kiss statues because they can not kiss the people that they represent. I can understand how this would be confusing to an outsider coming from a completely different paradigm. Pictures (such as stain-glass windows) and statues were also both traditionally used for teaching purposes when the majority of the population was illiterate.

And God obviously had no problem giving detailed instructions for the decoration of the ark including images of objects from heaven and earth. And given your Christmas card, you don't have a problem with images either, or are only images of the living allowed? The problem is with worshiping images, which Catholics do not do.

Do you ever ask your family, friends, or preacher to pray for you? If so than you are asking them to intercede for God on your behalf. Are they acting as mediators between you and God? Or are they asking God for help on your behalf? I suspect it's the latter. Same thing with the saints or the priest or anyone else.

Barbara C. said...

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

This is the Nicene Creed, which Catholics declare every Sunday at Mass. It is an expanded (more detailed) version of the Apostles Creed. It is the core of Catholic beliefs. You will probably find more that you agree with than with which you disagree.

Now there are probably many things that you don't understand or that you have been incorrectly taught about the nuances of the Catholic Church--Her practices and beliefs. That's why I suggest the previous books. Catholic Answers is also a good place for information. Because honestly I am a homeschooling mother of three (almost four), and I do not have the time or energy to answer your every question or concern about the Church (although I honestly wish that I did).

I just get very frustrated when I hear the same old false accusations against Catholics--"you worship Mary", "you aren't really Christian", "your Church does not teach the Bible", "you worship saints", "Constantine created the Catholic Church". I probably could have been more charitable in pointing out your errors, and I apologize for coming off too harsh.

I hope that you and your family have a wonderful stay in Poland and a safe trip home. And please remember that only God can truly know a person's heart--so we must be careful when judging any person's actions for good or for bad.

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