I think today’s post will be about what I would have posted yesterday, if I’d posted it. About church.
Pete and I are looking into going to a different church. For my excuse I’ll say that “our” church is too far – about 90 minutes away. But that’s not the whole story. I’ll try to keep it short but who knows WHAT might come tumbling out once I take my finger out of the dike!
We’ve gone to the same church since 2009, right after Leelan was born. And this church quickly became family. We were as involved as anyone could be, definitely more involved than most. And we became friends with the pastor and his wife as well, enjoying their company many times outside of church activities.
Even when we were living on the road, we still attended when we were anywhere nearby, and our tithes still went there. Until covid, we took our grands to a church near them every Sunday, missing our own terribly but feeling led to do it. But “our” church was still home, and we got there as often as we possibly could.
Then the devil came in the form of covid. I remember the day that we were told the conference made them close the church. I couldn’t even imagine such a thing! No state can prohibit the free exercise of religion, and what about our obedience to God? Doesn’t that take precedence? People have suffered and died at the hands of those who would stifle God’s church, yet our very own body, led by our friends, just shut the doors and that was that… I couldn’t – and still can’t – wrap my head around it. I don’t have to answer for it, and it wasn’t mine to carry. But I was so betrayed…it felt like all the talk about obedience to God, no matter what, ceased to matter at the first sign of resistance. I couldn’t handle it. I was devastated. Still am struggling with it…but anyway…
I later learned that there were many places that still met for services, but I didn’t know about them at the time. I would have gone though. In my mind, being killed by a virus – if that’s indeed how my end would come – is preferable to disobeying God. Death is no longer the enemy and I certainly don’t fear it! But even those brothers and sisters with whom I discussed it didn’t seem to understand. I don’t even know if my friends – the pastor and his wife – would understand and, given the responses of other Christians, I began to doubt it.
So I did my own worship and study thing, watched – but couldn’t “assemble together” at – services, and prayed. It was a lonely and empty time. And yes, I know others didn’t like being restricted, but I’m not talking about them.
Now it’s a year and a half later. “Our” church has been gathering for months. I went a couple of times, but it felt false to me. Like an enemy to our faith had dictated when we could open the doors, and that enemy was being obeyed instead of the God Who we claimed to serve. So I didn’t go back, though Pete has gone a few times. And they haven’t reached out to us, really, except for a couple of texted invitations to events there…but no show of wanting to talk with us about our 180° change since before covid, or anything like that…which has truly hurt my heart; I can barely think about it.
We’ve started to talk about attending a church closer to us. Or taking the grands back to church and renewing our Sunday morning ritual of church followed by a restaurant followed by Biggby’s for “coffee” before we took them home. (It also gave Casey and Bill time for themselves which I think they enjoyed.) We need a church, though. A home church where we can serve and tithe and participate and fellowship and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And – very important to me – one that truly obeys the God Who we follow, even when it is difficult to do so.
The other day a neighbor invited me to her church. It might be a good next step to healing for me. And obedience.