Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Church is Home

"Don't you hate high church?" asked a friend I had not seen in years.

To be fair, she didn't know.  Flashes of my recent Confirmation service went through my mind at lightning speed.  I couldn't decide whether to start my I love the Monastery speech or just look at her like she was crazy.  In a moment of Jesus filled grace I calmly asked, "Why do you?" 

"It's all pomp and circumstance.  No one even believes in God.  It's all rituals.  They don't even use the Bible!"
I bit my tongue.  Hard.  I could feel the Holy Spirit kicking me in the head, "Don't be snarky!!"  (Yes, in my world the Trinity uses words like snark).

It certainly wasn't the first time someone didn't understand my decision to leave the Baptist Church and join the Episcopal Church.  And she didn't even know that yet.

I snapped back to attention when she asked, "Oh yeah, where do you go to church now?"

To everyone who takes church for granted, I recommend taking a break.  Due to bunches of circumstances I spent over a year without a church family.  So many nights I prayed through tears that God would lead this life not just to any church, but to where he wanted me to be.  I learned a lot about ruthless trust in that season as Sunday after Wednesday after holiday I thought, "Life is lonely without a church family.  I know God is bigger than a building, but I need a building!  I need a place to go and more than that, a place to be."

If you've followed this blog for the past year, you know in ways only God could, he answered those prayers.  To sit in church and worship today I often fight back tears as I recall God's gracious faithfulness to this one tiny life.  He gave me a building, people, a church family and his love.  And he let me grow up in my faith through the process.  I gained far more than I lost for sure.

She was waiting on my answer.  Not wanting to start an argument I could feel my eyes start to fill up with tears.  "I go to the church that God chose for me.  I go there with people who love him and believe in sharing that love with the world.  I go there because God is there, because I know he's at work in my life every time I kneel in that pew.  Because every time I celebrate communion, I'm sure all over again that he is with me.  Always."

And later I thought, "I worship in that building with those people because on this journey to Heaven, that church feels like Home."

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