I was driving to church one Sunday morning and this question crossed my mind. Why DO I go to church? I have a good relationship with God. I am a spiritual director and I practice what I preach, I find God in everyday living, I pray, I try to live a life of faith. So what is it about going to church that draws me every week and occasionally mid-week?
I enjoy the people. I find it so comforting to sit with others and share time worshiping God in community. It is good to hear others’ prayers, to hear another reaction to scripture, to share bread and cup and know that we are part of something really big and special, called together by God who is love. The people in my church are diverse in age, theological perspective, political affiliation. Their occupations are across the board. There is variation in socioeconomic status. The people whose lives have touched me have enriched my life so much. I like that I can share my own faith with others. Together we try to be a mission-centered church and care for one another, locally and outside our walls. In doing all this I have grown to know God a little more. I have felt God’s presence and have seen the face of Christ in so many people.
I love to make music. Praying with hymns and anthems is so nurturing to my soul. I share this gift in several ways and that has given me a way to worship and a way to share with others. Helping others have a richer worship experience through music is a great blessing to me. I have made good friends through this ministry.
One might argue that these things are attainable outside a church setting and that is probably true but to have all of them in one place is a real joy. My particular church has been a vital part of our family life for many years and I truly appreciate the time spent in ministry. I have had several leadership roles and have found those to be meaningful ways to consider what God might have in store for us and strive to be God’s people in this world. It has been my privilege to be an organizer and a teacher and a caregiver. I have been supported in my own ministry of listening. I may or may not have the same experience in another church but I tend to believe that people generally are good and church life brings our the best in folks.
So why do I go to church? Because when I wake up on Sunday morning I don’t want to be at home in my own space. I genuinely want to be in a place where people gather to praise God and lift one another up in prayer and support. As I close my eyes I see those people rising to greet one another. It makes me smile.