We go to church. These days it feels like we're the only family in our neighborhood going to church. As I rally the girls into the car, after chasing them around the house to get them fed, and washed and dressed, we pull out of our driveway and down our street and I see everyone else at home; cars parked in driveways, men cutting their lawns, pajama clad women gathering the morning paper.
I get it...but I don't.
I want to be empathetic to the fact that many of these neighbors would tell me that their weeks are SO busy, that Sunday is the only "down" day they have, that they are tired, not sure they "believe" or, more and more, that their children have some sort of sporting event to attend.
They say they're too busy to go to church.
I say, in the spirit of an often quoted notion on prayer; They're too busy NOT to go to church.
As busy and as hectic as my week has been, as tired as I am, or however many lines are on my "to-do" list, I go to church because it is the only place where everything starts to makes sense again. It's like getting a realignment, finding my "center", returning home after being away for several days.
In all sincerity, when I've missed church for a week or even two my attitude gets a little less peaceful, a little more sour, I'm more easily irritated, and less likely to offer grace where it is needed. It's as if for every day I move away from the last worship service I've been to my heart gets a bit more discontent and anxious--
I need the fellowship of other believers, the connection to God that comes when I praise him by singing a worshipful song, and perspective from those wiser, bolder and more mature in their faith than myself (our pastors)...I need it. My spirit longs for it. My children need to see me modeling it.
Now church is only one piece of the puzzle...you need to also be praying daily, reading God's word frequently, and generally living a life in which you are moving towards God and not away... but for many, church is a good start-- it's a good place to reconnect with God, your spiritual needs and what God desires for your life.
If you have children...well...that could be an WHOLE post entirely on its own. Getting to church with kids is NOT always easy...especially when your spouse gets there 3 hours before you and you are getting the kids to church alone...it's not easy, but it's important. Important that they begin to see the pattern of going, the significance, that it becomes something that you do as a family regularly-- as regular and normal as taking baths, or cleaning your bedroom-- it's simply a part of life.
On some level I realize this post is rather simplistic...I KNOW it can sometimes be hard to find a good church, it can be a challenge to figure out where you feel like you fit in, it can feel a little alienating initially, and our children often protest against the nursery/childcare/Sunday school situations-- Press on...it's an important and worthwhile investment
...and an investment it is....in the same way you may put just a small sum of money into an initial investment opportunity-- even that small sum will grow. Over time you will find that the more you put in, the more you get back: your relationships deepen, your understanding deepens, your parenting deepens....everything gets deeper, wider, stronger, better...
So, if you've fallen away...get back.
If you've only dipped your toes...jump in.
If you've never tried it...start the journey.
If you have a great church, and you're already settled in...offer praise to God for that gift this morning. You are blessed.
You may not find a perfect fit right away...don't be discouraged. Be prayerful. God WILL guide you to the place He has for you.
I like what Katrina Kenison (Mitten Strings for God) has to say about Sundays and Sabbath:
"For most of us, Sundays have become just like every other day of the week-- a scramble to get some work done, the errands run, the groceries bought, the homework finished...In years past, Sunday was often the day when hardworking families switched gears. Church services and Sunday school, pot roasts at noon with extended family gathered around...Anything that smacked of work or popular culture was out of the question....Of course, real life in today's world is another matter all together. Given a day off, we fill it....We need time for stillness, time that is devoted to the soul's own purposes.
Over the last year, we have reshaped our family's Sundays. Instead of making them simply an extension of the work week, we have allowed them to become something sacred...We go to church after years of believing we didn't have time for church. We putter in the yard or take a walk in the woods. We make music. The kids sit in my lap...We laugh and get silly.
I do not feel that I am losing any time by spending Sunday morning in church and Sunday afternoon with my family. On the contrary, I am taking time back."
Hope you can find a way to make your Sunday sacred.