When I moved 600 miles north for my first post-graduate school job, finding a new church home was a top priority. I wasn’t tied to a particular denomination, but I prayed for a church where the pastors would know me by name, and where I would be able to learn, to serve, and to be actively embraced by a community of faith. On my first Sunday at English Lutheran Church, I had goosebumps from the sermon that the associate pastor gave, and the senior pastor had introduced himself and invited me to work with the confirmation program. I knew I was home.
At different points in my faith journey, I’ve needed different things. I’ve switched denominations more than once. I’ve left churches because I felt our priorities didn’t align.One of my closest friends is currently drifting between churches. As a college student, she has found a home in the campus ministry offered by one church, but feels more of a sense of community at another.
There is all kinds of literature and articles and blog posts available on how to make churches welcoming and how to target specific populations. But for you, right now, how or why is your church home? How do you sense the Spirit at work in your church?
Or, if church isn’t where you find your greatest sense of spiritual home and restedness, what does that look like for you?
This week, I encourage you to draw what spiritual home/resting-renewal place looks like for you. Yes, that’s right. Grab the crayons, the sharpies, the number two pencils, the cursor in Paint. Whatever makes you comfortable. As much as I love writing and feel self-conscious about drawing, there is something very freeing and spiritually powerful about drawing. When I was at a spiritual low, my pastor asked me draw my faith life and then explain it to her. This continues to be one of the those triggering moments when I realized that God was far more near and far more loving than I could ever imagine.
So, because I also believe in leading by example and being authentic with my community, I’ve included mine here too. As ever, I encourage you to share. Post it here, share it with friends, with loved ones, with your pastors and lay leaders, and to God in prayer. My prayer for all of you is that you would find rest and home through Him and a community of love and support, whatever that may look like for you right now.
My spiritual home is wrapped up in this big, imperfect heart of love, which is three overlapping lines that represent the Trinity – One God in three parts, though sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Christ is at the center, filling this heart. I, also very imperfect, am tiny in all this greatness, and Christ is filling me.
It looks like I’m cut in half, which represents the brokenness and healing and paradox that surrendering life to Christ provides. I’m circled, only so I can find myself in this community that’s interconnected, imperfect, and yet all united. Some of us may lack arms, legs, heads, whatever – we are all broken people, just show it in different ways. Yet we are all wrapped up in this love, and connected to each other and to our Lord.
Outside of this love are other elements of spiritual life that are key for home: a chalice, joy, sorry, wind of the spirit, shell of baptism, music, the fish symbol that represents unity in Christ even through oppression.I intentionally used one color to represent a sense of peace and clarity that I often find through my spiritual community.
Is this an ugly drawing? Absolutely. But it’s home, and what it represents has been used to great good.
What about you? What does your spiritual home look like?