What is an alignment of faith for non-believers?
Putting questions like this into the proper perspective we must dissect the understanding of those who have never known Christ, or the many current Christians who once believed and have turned away from God.
Understandably there are many who have yet to hear about Christ, his mission to bring us to his Father, and prove through our own evangelical presence the truth that we adhere to. That premise remains a challenge for missionaries, even in our country, to reach out and convert without proselytizing other Christians to our church. It is those Catholics who have recently left for a myriad of excuses that hurt the original appearance of a sacramental Church and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Herein lies the efforts and teachings of so many saints in Catholicism that should never had happened. Of course two of the liturgies that have become stagnant in our Masses are good and sound preaching that will get the attention of those sitting in the pews. The other is our music. If the music director is leading a group of seasoned singers, especially very astute choir members, music that is favorable to them will become a classical aurora of melodious voices that is comforting to their own ears and style. However, most people sitting in the pew will try to hum or just listen to the music, unable to read the printed marks of stops and other indications to follow using their voices. Without establishing criticism towards the professional edicts leading us in music, a great number of people would rather join in with some of the beautiful works from some years back where it is simple to sing songs that we grew up with. This is not a put-down to their artistic abilities, but most of us are not styled music professionals.
Back to the preaching. There are preachers, and then there are preachers. Using the one person who showed us how to preach, look at Jesus. Some teachers of Luke have called Jesus a rear door or kitchen type of visitor bringing good news in a way the listener can relate with. He spoke using signs of fisherman, sheep, and those who planted crops. There the listeners could relate to what he was about to tell them.
One thing we were told before ordination, do not preach theology. Leave that to teachers who may explain it in classrooms. The priest who worked with me regarding preaching said he used current topics from newspapers and applied that to the gospel. Believe me that is not difficult. Another no no is the habit of making sure to mention each of the three readings and attempt to make a literal 'expose’ of what each has already been used through the readings.
When inquiring with more than one Catholic who left for another church, usually non-denominational, it was because of the music they can now sing, and the message they can easily relate with.
When I asked about the alignment of faith it is simply an adherence to become part of the congregation and not just an audience being entertained. Change some of the music that is easier to sing as a group, and bring the message to a conclusion that makes the listeners the focal point of the message and not someone hundreds of years earlier did for the faith. Make those attributes a message for a classroom experience. This may not register with a lot of priests and deacons, but it is a sound thought to wake us up to the initial need of the common folk waiting to sing and walk out of church with a new outlook as Christ’s followers did.
Ralph B. Hathaway