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A student decided to spend some time abroad to learn how others in a foreign country conducted their various types of worship. He was visiting a small town and spent the morning sightseeing and enjoying a meal and some drinks at a pavement cafe before continuing his quest for something interesting to visit.
He approached a beautiful church set in the town square and saw crowds of people, mainly families thronging round the church entrance and speaking in loud voices to each other. He waited outside for the people to enter and noticed it was a Catholic church, which he had never been to before, the crowds thinned and a young man of about his own age entered, so he followed him into the building. The church was nearly full, but the young man headed for a seat on the front row and sat down, he followed and sat down next to him and received a welcoming smile from a gleaming set of white teeth. The mass started with a hymn and the student pretended to sing along with the congregation. When the young man knelt down to pray he followed suit, when he stood up to pray he did the same and when he sat down the student sat also. Although he couldn't understand what was being said, he thought he was doing rather well at disguising his ignorance in church matters. The Mass was ending when the priest started to read out the church notices and when the priest said something and the man next to him stood up, he stood up as well. Suddenly, an embarrassed hush fell over the entire congregation and looking round he noticed everyone else was sitting, so he sat down again quickly and suddenly everyone started clapping, which confused the young man somewhat.
After Mass the priest met him at the doorway and asked in perfect English, “I take it you don’t speak the language very well, but did you enjoy the Mass?” “Yes.” said the student, “It was very meaningful, but why did everyone applaud when I sat down?” “Well,” said the priest, “Whilst reading out the notices, I had just announced that we had to welcome a new member to our church, as the Acosta family had a new-born baby girl and would the proud father please stand up and receive our applause.”
There is nothing wrong in trying to imitate the good men and women we meet in our lives, but we need to be careful who we imitate. We can of course follow the example of those living upright Godly lives; however we need to take our ultimate standard from Jesus himself, otherwise we too may find ourselves standing when we ought to be sitting.
“Live your life in a manner that never infringes on the happiness of others.
No one can be truly happy if this happiness comes at someone else’s expense.”
Published Sat 6th Sep 2014 13:18:43