To be fair, I think church life is extra hard for single, divorced, separated, alone people. Just by social infrastructure, we don't fit. Thankfully, I've come to terms with worshiping alone after several years of resenting it. I almost, sometimes, prefer it. I can just be with God and not distracted. I certainly don't miss people elbowing me during parts of the sermon!
It's amazing how easy it is to get hurt in a church setting, and how unbelievably painful. Equally disturbing, how long it takes to recover. And once you've been hurt, it seems simple things get instantly multiplied way out of proportion. Once those you've trusted to hold your spirituality hurt you, it seems likely everyone will. Once harsh words are spoken within sacred walls, it seems hurt is lurking around every corner.
Humanity is fragile. The church is not immune.
So, in a brief moment of faith and maturity, I went to church last night. My current issue is not with those people. It's not their fault. I don't even really know most of them. But, they represent the church to me and I wanted to be away. I knew if and before I made my way to the alter I would have to forgive. Again.
Kneeling at the alter, I remembered life's a risk and church is not an exception. I forgave intentional and unintentional hurt. And as I heard these words. . . . .
Eternal God, heavenly Father,
You have graciously accepted us as living members
of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
and You have fed us with spiritual food
in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood.
Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve You
with gladness and singleness of heart;
through Christ our Lord. Amen
And I forgave myself, too.