My initial thought, as I try and recap my Sunday away from my church is:
There's no place like home.
You feel it, when you walk in the door. The Spirit of God is there. It loosens the knots that may have built in your stomach during the week, and you feel better just for having come in.
I missed that today.
I went to another church, actually, I went to Larry's (One-Sided) church. It's been awhile since I've been to a bigger church, so I admit, I chuckled at the theater-like feelings I had when I saw the screen flashing prior to the service different messages like "Please silence your cell phone" and "No food and drink in the auditorium" - complete with a big picture of a drink and fries and a hamburger I believe.
They sang good songs, new and old, and I'd say about 30% of the congregation longed to be clappers. I had the same old internal struggle about raising my hand during the worship time - since no one else was. I managed to do it and I wonder if I'm paranoid to think they're glad the visitors are gone.
The message was good - all about temptation and how none of us are above it and how God makes a way of escape.
I was a little disappointed that they use "The Message" for a bible... rather than (I know, I know) a real bible.
Personal opinion only.
I was on the phone with someone from my church this evening and they mentioned hard feelings and I couldn't help but wonder if I'll have a lot of repair work to do when I go back. This has been a crazy year and I haven't been a good friend to the whole church and I wonder how welcome I'll be to just walk back in.
Then I complained to God that I'm just one great big bundle of fear sometimes.
I want to be home. But when I go home, I want to be strong enough to worship and speak boldly the gospel of Christ. And I'm learning in my own goofy way.
Last night was my first home-hosted worship/church service. I'm not a song leader mostly because I'm too freaked out about picking songs - but we not only made it through it, but we made it through it well. It was good in my book. I would label it as great, but I've been in my house when I've worshipped God before, and I know how much better it can get.
Next, is home-hosted Sunday School that starts Tuesday. I'm nervous about this one since other things are involved and I'm afraid it will become more of a time of fellowship and conversation than what we really came together for. But, I don't want to lose the fellowship and conversation by being hard-nosed about the spiritual conversations. I don't know where this one ends up. So, to my 11 readers today - keep Tuesday evening in prayer.
Some of my questions to my Sunday School kids is "If you could change how church functioned, what would you change?"
I think my answer would be that our time should be more conducive to the people talking. From what little talking to people I've done, I know that they have a lot of questions that aren't being answered by a sermon. And they have some struggles that you'd be surprised about, and some of them... their hearts are way more towards God than you'd think just by watching them from the outside.
Maybe I'm lacking this experience in church because I duck out too quickly, running away without talking to people in the past. But there are a lot of people in my church that I know that others just don't know them well enough. If our goal seriously became to get to know each other better, well, there's not that many people in my church but I could spend a lot of time if I have to visit every single family personally in order to get to know them, their struggles, their heart. So... despite my initial dread, fear, heart palpitations and ulcers at the very thought of them.. I wish churches had some night where they met and just talked, asked questions, prayed for each other and uhum.. confessed their faults/struggles.
No pews, no microphones, just people coming together.
And yeah, I might be too chicken to attend.
Is there something that you would change about the way a church typically holds 'church'?