I found a church. I’ve only attended once, but there is something about the church that I need. It is more traditional than any other church I’ve attended. The service is very structured. Worship was much more sedate than I am used to, and I find that comforting. The sermon was Biblically based. We recited the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. We shared communion, which was very reverent. I left almost as soon as service was over so that I wouldn’t volunteer for 15 committees…’cause I know that’s my propensity and weakness.
You see, I was burned by churches. I refuse to completely put the blame on the churches though. I see my responsibility. I wanted so badly to belong to a group of people who loved God that I jumped in with both feet. I joined every committee, group. I went to every service, prayer group, leadership meeting that was available. I sang the songs (without considering the words, but that’s another blog) and jumped/cheered/cried on cue. I talked the talk. I walked the walk. I could go toe to toe with just about anyone.
But, there was something missing. His name is Jesus.
But there was something missing. It’s call the Word of God.
But there was something missing. It was a deep relationship with my Creator.
I was so busy, I didn’t have time to read the Word. That’s what the pastor fed me on Sunday, right? Wrong.
I was so busy that I didn’t have time to pray. That’s what I did on Thursday mornings and Sunday before service, right?
I have come to realize that I had a lot of beliefs. I had a lot of knowledge. I owned the culture. But I had no idea what was written in the Bible, so therefore I had no idea that most of the stuff I was being fed was, for lack of a better word, crap. A lot of what was being taught to me didn’t sit right with me. The deeper I got into the culture (and the further away I got from having an authentic relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) the more miserable I became. I didn’t realize that it was because I was displeasing the Lover of my soul. I thought it was because I wasn’t doing enough. I thought I wasn’t being devoted enough to the church.
I was wrong. One day, I walked away. After laying in bed for 2 weeks, I made the decision to move away from NJ. I moved to MA. That was a lifetime ago. I tried a few churches up there, then I tried to be a part of a church back in NJ when I moved back. Another bad church experiment wherein I repeated my sick pattern…thinking that I was just not dedicated enough to the church.
I kept promising friends that I would try to find a church. I meant it in the deepest part of my being. But…I was scared to death. When I say that, I mean physically repulsed by the thought of church…and frankly, church people.
Very recently, I have started reading my Bible. I know it’s crazy, but the Word of God is life transformational. Just reading it brings a calmness to my spirit that I’ve not known in a long time…probably since I was 7 years old and devoured my Bible daily.
And now, after about 5 years, I’m going to church. Tomorrow will be two weeks in a row. (Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps.) I am taking it slow. There is a lot of healing that has to go on in me. There is a lot of stuff I have to work through and let go. There is a lot of anger that needs to be resolved. I have to forgive…myself, others.
I’m taking this thing day by day. In the words of Paul in Philippians 3:14: 1I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.