Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sundays, Church, Family, and Community

Sundays. The day of the week where most people either go to church or sleep in and relax at home. It is a day for families. It used to be that many families had Sunday dinner at Grandma's house and everyone brings their favorite dish to share. You get a chance to re-group for that day, for a few hours you remember who you belong to in this big world and it brings comfort. You got a taste of community. Then dinner is over and everyone hurries home to wherever they live to begin their week.

To me that is what going to Church is for. A chance to re-group and remember what family you are from. Where you come from, what you believe, and where you are going together. Churches come in many shapes and sizes. Just like families they have different traditions, cultures, sounds, and histories. Sometimes churches aren't called churches. I was a part of a VW church, whose Pastors are very dear friends and have given me and my family a sense of community and belonging that has been vital to our growth as human beings. We didn't meet on Sunday mornings but still when we gathered I felt just as refreshed as I did on any given Sunday morning after church.

For me this idea of church and sunday mornings has changed so much over the years. It used to be that when I was the child, I tried to do everything I could to get out of getting up and going to church with my mom and dad and rest of the family. Now I am the parent who is trying to get everyone up and motivated and out the door in time for church. Sometimes I revert back to being the child, shh... don't tell my children I said that. Really I am not quite sure why that is that I have reverted back to childhood in recent years, but when it comes to going to church, I just know that at some point church became a chore. Something I checked off my list of things to do in a week. It's not a chore but rather a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted.

I remember when church was the highlight of my week and the pinnacle of my social interactions as a teenager. When I was finally able to go to the church of my choice my sister and I would drive 30 miles from Carson City to Reno to go not only to church on Sunday mornings but then again to an evening youth church that night. I met people and families then that I am still friends with today. I met and married my husband with that family or church. Then we moved on to find a church closer to home and one that we chose together.
That family supported us through the early years of our marriage and into the years of parenting. It was a safe haven and a place that we were healed from so much. I am still good friends with those family members/friends. Finally before moving here to Seattle we became a part of a city on hill or the Hillside family and those years...well they were like nothing I have ever known or will know again. Those years taught me so much. I never thought I would find a place like it.

So you see, Sundays for me have never been just another day.

And now as a parent I don't want my children to grow up and think that Sunday is just another day of the week either. However, I don't want them to be the children that dread going to church and so it is hard for me to find the balance there.

Recently, I have been so incredibly blessed to have found a group of people at Bethany UCC in Seattle.
They are a beautiful group of people that come from all over the world. Today I sat with tears of joy for this church and for the churches before this that have walked along side me and my family for many years.

I am a better person because of some of the people that my life has crossed paths with in these churches, families, communities and clubs. I am full of hope that church really is being redefined for my whole family and that healing is ahead because of it. I am thankful for those who spend their days looking for better ways that they can serve their community whether it's through the forum of a church or not. YOU are to be commended if you are counted among one of those people who is serving your community, church, family, club. I pray all of God's blessings on you for this and many more of the things you do to make the world, our world a better place.



gregrea said...

Well said...I appreciate you finding the beautiful baby in the proverbial bathwater. Too many are joing the deconstructionist de-churched route, but thank you for embracing the beuty that the ecclesia is and can be.

noel said...

Greg- I have noticed that and have even gotten on that band wagon a time or two. I have hope though. God's not giving up on it, so how could I? Thank you for being one who is continuing to serve your church in more ways than one.

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