Sunday, September 18, 2011
Why I go to church
I have always been behind the times. I just got my first ipod last year, I'm still not on facebook, I haven't caught on to sushi.
But there is one trend I am seeing among many friends and family and all over the nation that I will just sit out. People are giving up on church.
USA today went over the latest statistics and they are pretty telling. (Boo to the USA today editor that missed the use of "their" instead of "there") But I don't want to talk about the numbers, I want to give my own manifesto on why I get up, get us ready and go to church each Sunday.
There are a hundred things I love about church and some days I love some more than others. Some days I am comforted by the conversation with friends. Some days those same people are making me pull my hair out. Some days the prayers and hymns lift me from my struggles and point me to heaven. Some days the choir is very off tune and grates on my nerves. Some days the sermon is the exact thing I needed to hear and some days I am planning out our weekly menu in my mind and don't hear a thing.
But the one reason I go and tell my children we must go is. . . God is there. This is where sometimes protestants just can't get it. For somewhere along the way the sense of sacred space has been lost. God is not just in the four walls of a church, indeed He is "everywhere filling all things". But in this set apart place with an altar, the blood, the body and the multitude of saints bearing witness- God is there.
Growing up in the Bible belt with well-known Christians all around, I have heard just about every controversy there is. People within the church have committed every kind of sin and atrocity and have left lives in shambles in their wake. But fundamentally, the church is about more than the sum total of the people in it. If it were just about being with the "right" people, we would be better off at a rotary club meeting.
But church is about One who is above us and in us and around us. We go like the woman at the well, for we are thirsty and this is the source of water. We can take the water with us anywhere we go, but this is where we can receive it from the wellspring.
I am writing this not to condemn anyone who has been turned off from church. I needed to remind myself today as most of the liturgy I was grumbling in my heart. But ultimately, our healing from the hurts from those in the church comes from the Great Physician who's hospital is the church.