Sometimes I will be the new wife at a reunion where I know few people and it is a lot about smiling, nodding and trying to find one of the handful of people I have met before. Other times there will be plenty of folks I know well and enjoy (and sometimes not so much) where each face represents beloved memories and the promise of new adventures around the next corner. Sometimes I will have secondary hopes for the day that I might snag new information for my family tree research or meet a cousin I have only "met" on-line or find a new recipe from the buffet pot-luck.
This is how I feel about church on Sunday morning. It is a big family reunion where sometimes I'm still learning folks names with their faces and finding ways to be helpful. At other times it is full of laughter and memories and sharing new ideas about ways of living and learning and serving. We sometimes eat together after church, but we always come to the Communion Table in fellowship with our extended family in all times, at all places, from all ages.
I realize for some folks churches have be the place for everything from family-style spats to raging bad behaviors at churches. I am so sorry. I offer you my deepest respect for your pain. I acknowledge that in a perfect world churches will be safe places where everybody is on a high plane of spiritual development and the members will have stopped letting their personal baggage spew onto those around them as they try to find their way. In the meantime I can only say, we are not at church because we are perfect (although some are at times unclear about this), but rather because we are broken and seeking reconciliation with the child God created us to be.
So, if you haven't been to church in a while or if you go and come home frustrated and unfulfilled I want to invite you to find a church (or help your church become a church) where we are welcoming to each other, offering hope, love, instruction and acceptance, a place to review our past and equip ourselves for the future, on Earth today and in Life Everlasting.
I hope to see you there, if not tomorrow then in the Church Eternal. Please introduce yourself and I'll do the same.