Sunday, January 16, 2011

Twenty Ninth Post - Church

It's Sunday morning and in my Evangelical Christian tradition it's time for church. Going to church used to be a slam dunk, routine thing to do. Wake up, shower, eat, get dressed, and go to church. Period. No questions asked! It seems that things have changed. Sunday morning comes and I'm full of indecision. Should I go? Where should I go? Do I want to go? Should I go even if I don't want to?

Let me back up a bit…..

I often joke that I was born a Christian. I'm pretty sure I started attending church when I was less than a month old. I went to the same church that almost all of our family attended. My mom's family were founding members and when the congregation grew out of their original building my father was actively involved in the construction of the new building. I LOVED being part of church. Church life WAS life.

When I turned from child to adult, circumstances led me away from the church of my childhood. I became an active member of several other congregations (not at the same time). I stayed very involved no matter where I attended and experienced firsthand the building up and the tearing down that can happen simultaneously in the name of the church. At times my attendance and involvement in church wained. What never dissolved was my relationship with God and in the spirit of full disclosure, my relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. While my faith has not wavered, my churchgoing has evolved into not churchgoing and that pains me. This is partly due to circumstance and partly due to choice. I live in a city that is about a 4 – 5 hour drive from what I consider to be my church home. I've lived away from that home for five years and have only recently come close to finding a place of worship to belong to here at the coast. I've missed it; it being Church. I miss being involved. I miss the corporate worship. I miss being alone, yet not alone; being a part of a group worshipping with gratitude, with pain, with love, with fear, with FAITH!

Life has taken another twist. My husband is a minister. He has been out of a pastoral role for more than a decade.  My Reverend is now looking at returning to an active pastoral role. That, my friends, will put me in the role of pastor's wife….oh my! So you see, the time has come to face my church avoidance head on! As I write this, my Reverend (also lovingly known as The Bishop) has gone off to services without me. 

In counselling we speak of 'baby steps' (or maybe that was only in the movie, "What About Bob?"). I am taking baby steps back to the weekly practice of attending church. While I may never find the sweet aroma and delight of the church of my childhood (much like the lost Advent of old – Post Seventeen), I hope to discover something new and beautiful where I can blend my voice and faith with others to give praise worthy of a God who has maintained His presence within and around me on my journey thus far.

This week I'm attending my first ever pastor's retreat, as a pastor's wife. What new territory will you be entering this week?

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

1 comment:

  1. Ohmy home is my church.
    I seldom attend church because of other activities like soccer but they seem to have stopped for me now so I really need to get my house and clothes and mind in order to begin again to visit a place where one can have peace for one hour and support an institution which works for goodness and humanity in man.
    I remember my archbishop gave me an icon of Mary with Jesus, which I treasure and hide so it doesn't get destroyed.
    Once I tore my whole house apart looking for her and I couldn't find her. I was devastated. I felt like my heart was ripped out of my body.I thought someone stole her. Of course by now she was personalized, to me. I told my Mom and she told me it is at home with her.
    Sometimes I wonder if she didn't take it back to her house so I would not lose it when she visited me. She was getting her sickness with Parkinson's and alzheimers by then but it wasn't bad yet.Yes I totally understand you and hope you and your reverend can find a place again to lead your flock. But you know, there is no place like home and it is so hard to create a new home like your Mom's family did.Thse are times you never forget and carry with you.