Without giving you my entire church-going and recent non-attendance history, let me just say I haven’t been to church in quite awhile except on rare occasions. But today I went to church.
Not the church of my childhood and not a church I’d ever been to before, either. A non-denominational church I read about in the local newspaper a few weeks ago.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. It’s so easy to allow yourself to get into a rut and it may be a rut you’ll never get yourself out of.
I’m lazy. I’m not a joiner. Been there. Done that. Don’t feel I’m particularly good in groups. But I yearn to be inspired, to do something different, to be somewhere else on a Sunday morning instead of in bed with my coffee and my laptop or journal.
This morning a little voice whispered in my ear, “Go to church.” So to this particular church I went.
One of the people who greeted me was a long-time customer from my day job. A young woman came and introduced herself after I found a seat in the back where I could observe the proceedings. When she stopped to chat with the two young ladies sitting nearby I realized I had recently worked with one of them and said hello to her. Another young lady came and sat next to me and introduced herself and we chatted for a bit as the seats filled up. The music began and I thought I recognized another coworker up there singing. Although the music was much too loud for my elderly ears, the rest of the service was interesting, stimulating and at times, inspiring.
I’d never before seen portable Communion (that’s not what they called it) but it was a wafer and a tiny cup of (wine? grape juice?) in pre-packaged form which we all shared in remembrance of Jesus’s sacrifice for us.
I wish I could remember more of the pastor’s talk. I hesitate to use the word “sermon” because that’s not what it felt like to me. He’s young, dynamic, dressed in a tee shirt and jeans, relating 1Samuel: 3 into something that might be useful in today’s world. Which made me think of a hymn I loved when I used to attend church regularly. “Here I Am Lord.” Listening when God speaks to you and being open to doing His work. The pastor talked about timing which made me wonder if all the projects I wanted to put forward but never did might have been because the time wasn’t right.
The service ran for an hour and fifteen minutes. I didn’t have a watch or a phone with me, but it made me realize how in the church of my childhood I couldn’t wait for the service to be over. I rarely felt inspired by anything I heard there. Can’t recall the last time anyone introduced themselves or made me feel welcome when I arrived. Nor can I remember the last time a sermon was of any help to me once I left and returned to my every day routine.
Is this the church for me? I’m not sure. But I’m inclined to bring along a pair of earplugs and go back again. Because I need something I haven’t been getting. And if I don’t look for it, I’ll ever find it.
#Grace City #Lakeland #Florida