On Sunday I wrote a note on the wrong bulletin. (If you haven’t read about it, you can do so here).
It turned out to be something I, and a girl whose name I do not know, needed to hear.
The second version, the one that ended up on my own bulletin, was this:
Don’t let anyone tell you that going to and participating in church will always be easy. Few things that are truly worth having are easy.
Because this past Sunday I was overwhelmed by how much my soul needs church, which I’ve written about before. I hadn’t even realized my soul was tired until I found myself near tears during each song we sung. This is exactly why I need to come to church, I thought.
The church I attend now has become exactly what I need in many ways, but it hasn’t been easy. For almost the first full year, and definitely the first few months, I felt awkward. I sat by myself most Sundays, something I was uncomfortable with, and didn’t know what to do with myself if I arrived too soon or if the greeting time stretched on too long.
Over time it changed as I began to meet more people, but there are still moments when I feel awkward. It’s not the church’s fault, but my own insecurity getting in the way of the larger purpose of the Church. Church with a capital C, as a community of believers who join together to worship and learn what it means to seek to live more like Jesus.
The reality is, Church will not always be easy. Perhaps especially if you attend by yourself, as I do, but for anyone—going to church can be hard. There have been times when I have driven away from a church with tears in my eyes, and not because the service was particularly moving (though that has happened too).
Taking the step of going to church, and the next step of getting involved with one, is really, really hard sometimes.
Church can be lonely. Church can be hurtful. Church can feel pointless. It is one of the main reasons people dislike the Church. I’ve been hurt by it and you’ve likely been hurt by it, and I am so, so sorry this is true. It really shouldn’t be this way.
The reality is that churches are comprised of people, and where there are people, there is brokenness and there is messiness. Some churches have more of it than others, but you will never find a completely perfect church on this earth. It does not exist.
Yet there is still so much good there. Despite the brokenness, despite the hurt, despite feeling that it may be pointless, Church can be a place of community, rest for the soul, learning, and so much more.
Things that are worth it are rarely easy, but they can be so, so good.
(More on that soon)
Til next time…
p.s. Has going to church ever been hard for you? Why or why not?