The Importance of Church
You all know how much I've been wrestling with figuring out the importance of church. For so long it seemed like a place full of empty promises. But this new place we call home ... it is helping us remember how life-giving church can be.
You know, it's amazing what a difference it makes in your life when you find a faith community that you truly love. For so long we lounged around on Sunday mornings, staying in our pajamas until 10 or so, making our way to the farmers market, and coming home by noon for lunch and a nap. Those Sunday mornings were great - but we didn't really feel fulfilled. We didn't feel a burning need to go to church - but we did feel like something was missing.
But now, after just a few months at this new church we call home, we can't imagine Sunday morning without it. We stayed home one Sunday just before E was born and I felt lost the rest of the week. I missed it...and I haven't missed any particular church in a very long time. Even after E was born, when she was just 6-days old, we walked through those doors into worship - because we just couldn't imagine making it through the week without it. It also helped that A wanted to "take E to church."
And let's be totally honest ... becoming parents of two is exhausting. Although E sleeps pretty well for a newborn, A is still a terrible sleeper. We find ourselves getting less and less sleep as the days go by. When Sunday morning rolls around, we all pile in the car and head to church - because our sleep-deprived selves need it more than ever.
We need the worship. We need to step outside of ourselves and remember that God is bigger than any one of us. We need to stop for just a brief second and confess the things we've done - and not done - throughout the week. We need to pray for those who are struggling with needs greater than ours. We need to feel God's presence in a way that can only be experienced in a worship gathering.
We need Holy Communion. We need to be fed with the body of Christ. We need the sustenance to continue plugging on through what comes at us in the week ahead. We need the reminder that God will always fulfill and sustain us, if we will simply allow it.
And we need the community. Oh boy do we need the community. We felt so lonely when we had A - we had a church community, but we were the first in that community to go through the birth of a new baby. We didn't have any friends who could walk the journey with us. We had support - but it felt like it was from afar. This time around is so very different. Not only do we live in a place where community is prevalent, but we have found a church that truly is about living in community. We feel connected to other people in a way that we haven't ... ever ... in our adult lives.
We had resigned ourselves to seeing church as a place for worship and Communion - and accepted that we would have to find community elsewhere. But in these early days of parenting two - instead of falling into despair and self-pity, we have found that God has graciously given us not only a place of worship, but a place where true community exists. Community that celebrates successes with us and surrounds us with love and support through the difficulties.
Church as community ... it's not a concept that disappeared as we entered into this new postmodern world. It's something God expects to happen. It's a critical piece of being church. And I'm so glad that we've finally discovered a place that could be that community for us. We find ourselves happier and more fulfilled than we have been in a very long time.
How has church been important in your daily life?