La Paz de Cristo Rey

La Iglesia de Cristo Rey is a Spanish-speaking congregation in Denver that I went to visit on Sunday. I was a little intimidated to worship there with my barely-conversational Spanish abilities, but made the trip anyway. I wanted to experience worship in a different language primarily for the various cultural customs that inherently come with it. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

As I walked up the steps to the sanctuary, I saw two toddlers in First Communion-style dresses. Then, I saw a teenager in a beautiful gown not unlike the one I, myself, wore to junior prom. The front of the church was filled with women in dresses and men in ties. It was a quinceaƱera, the celebration of a woman turning fifteen that marks her transition from childhood to adulthood. 

The merging of this birthday celebration and worship was truly special. She sat front and center before Father Q, who asked her to reaffirm her faith throughout the service. At times during the sermon he spoke directly to her, hoping the best for her future and reminding her that she is a child of God.

Another event transpired that was so simple, yet so meaningful to me. As we passed la paz (the peace), I spoke to everyone in Spanish, knowing I was in their space and that I needed to respect that. One woman came up to me and took my hand, looked me in the eye, smiled and said, "Peace be with you." To which I responded, "La paz." The welcome she had for me, making me feel comfortable in an environment totally unfamiliar to me, was beautiful and actually took my breath away. 

La paz de Cristo Rey on Sunday was found in the love that people had for each other and for God. While I sat there in my pew stumbling through my broken Spanish, babies cried, people walked around, jokes were made and a quinceaƱera was going on. However, those there knew the liturgy and the songs by heart, speaking and singing loudly and proudly. Their love for God cancelled out all of the background noise to give a true sense of peace in worship.