I’ve been attending church my entire life. As a child, I don’t remember ever actively balking at the prospect of going to church, though I’m sure in middle and high school there were times I would’ve preferred to sleep in. My first two years of college, I did a fair amount of “church shopping,” as well as some intentional skipping. For the last two years, I’ve been attending a church I have grown to love, and have become quite involved there.
Finally, after over 22 years of attending church, I think I’m finally beginning to understand why I need it.
As I stood in church this morning, my soul sighed in rest. This is where it belongs. Worshiping, surrounded by other believers–this is what my soul needs.
During the week, I go to work. I go to classes where I am the teaching assistant, and leave with stacks of papers to grade. I go to Bible study once or twice. I grade the stacks of papers. I hang out with friends. I watch TV. And so forth. In their own way, these are good things, even necessary. These are the day-to-day bits that make up a life.
But they are often tiring, stressful, wearying. They take their toll, in all sorts of ways.
Church is a recharge for my soul.
In so many ways.
I love to sing, but I love to sing most when they are songs of worship and praise offered to God. I love (and hate) the way the sermon often seems to be intended specifically for me, and I find myself examining my life, determining things that need to change or I need to be cautious of. I love seeing friends, and greeting new ones.
Not every church has these elements, every week, for every person. As a whole, the church is not a perfect institution. On an individual level, no specific church is perfect, even mine. Most weeks I can’t wait to go to church; but this phase of wanting so desperately to go to church will not last forever. This is the first time in my life that I can say that with any sort of consistency, and as with all things, it will go in cycles. But I truly hope and believe I continue to go to church even when I do not feel like it.
Because church has praise. Worship. Community. These are the things my soul needs.
This is why I need church.
Til next time…
p.s. Church can be a touchy topic. What do you think about it?