Sunday, February 24, 2008

How Do I Go to What We Are?

A friend of mine was asking me if I missed the routine of going to church services. We had both been long time church service attendees and were quite comfortable going to a weekly ritual. Leaving the routine and ritual was at first a bit of a strange experience for both of us.

Several years ago I had been unceremoniously asked to leave a church. Up to that point, I had gone to church twice on Sunday for all of my adult years. I had always participated in communion services and when I was kicked out, most of the people that I knew didn’t care. I don’t want you to think I am asking for your pity, I didn’t care when someone else had left the church service that I belonged to, either. I didn’t care if they were hurt, lonely, bitter or in need. If I noticed they weren’t there I quickly got over that “loss”. I managed to continue faithfully going to church services and having communion as a sign of my love for God.

As a side note, most of the people that didn't care about me getting kicked out have since left that church service as well. I wonder if anyone cares that they left?

My wife and I started attending another church that only had 1 service on Sunday. That was my first experience of breaking a well established pattern and we went through a time of withdrawl and guilt for not going to two rituals every Sunday. It wasn’t long for us to adjust to this “new” idea. We were faithful in the one service model and learned that the Bible didn’t say, “thou must go to two church services every Sunday.” Wow, I had been to Bible college for four years and didn’t know that.

These days, I don’t regularly attend any ritual and that’s why my friend was asking if I missed them. I don’t miss the addictive process of going to church services and the shallow relationships that I now see I had for many years.

I now find each day filled with wonder and joy in God and the blessings that He has given to me. I enjoy the relationships that I find myself in. I now experience vital friendships and don’t seek out rituals to prove I’m a good Christian.

My days are filled with helping others at the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual level. Many conversations are filled with joy and dreaming and yes, sometimes debating about going to rituals.

Whenever I am encouraged by someone or have the opportunity to encourage others, I deeply sense God’s presence. I don’t wait to go to a ritual, I experience gathering with others (church) almost everyday of the week.

It’s nice not having to find out what personality a person follows or what there preferred doctrinal position is in order to have fellowship with them.

Does this mean I’ll never go to an organized church service? Of course not. I was at one a few weeks ago. The pastor was asking everyone to dig deeper in order to build a $10 million dollar building, so they could better minister to people. Interestingly enough only 2 people welcomed me that morning and 1 of them was just visiting. I won’t ever confuse a building or a method with the meaning of church ever again.

Wow, do I ever love the church that Jesus is building and yes, some of these people that I love are very attached to their buildings and love going to services.

As for me, I’ve simply come to the place of understanding that I can’t go to what we are.


Alicia Clemance said...

Hmm... well just so you know - I noticed you weren't there. and i cared. I guess you wouldn't have really known that seeing as I was a young teen unaware of all the wonderful hidden agendas of the church.

Alicia (Henebry) Clemance

David Grant said...

Hi Alicia,
Thank you for caring and taking the time to comment. I do remember you and trust that all is well with your family.