Over the holidays I reconnected with a valued friend. Although our paths had diverged for a couple of years, we easily picked up where we left off. We talked about writing and family and faith — and eventually, church. He had taken a time-out from attending, only recently returning for the sake of his kids. After bouncing around a bit, he eventually “settled” on one. He says it’s okay. He likes the pastor and the people are nice, but he longs for more than “surface” relationships.
Given my own questions about “church” (see “Church Attendance” and “Spiritual but not Religious“), I had mostly kept silent, but when he mentioned a longing for deep connection, I simply said, “Like this.” We agreed that our Tuesday morning restaurant meal had more spiritual significance than what we normally experience on Sunday mornings.
This is church, I thought — except that the words also tumbled out of my mouth. He nodded, though I know not if out of politeness or agreement. While I appreciate that many bristle at the suggestion that church could happen during the week, in a restaurant, without a pastor, and sans music or sermon — I do know the God was there with us.
Another of my “church” experiences is my twice monthly volunteering at the local food pantry. There I worship God through my acts of service to those who Jesus said we are to help. There I fellowship with others as we work together. Though we come from different churches — and no churches — we are there forming relationships, helping others, and being united as one “church” — just like Jesus prayed (John 17:23).
So I went to “church” last Tuesday, and then on Saturday, and I will go again this Sunday morning.
Where is your “church?“
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