It felt good, so wake up early on a Sunday, put on some presentable clothes, and show up to church. I haven’t attended services in just about ten years since I was last a member of a church with some friends in my senior year of high school. After I graduated I ran off and moved around, did a little college, rambled – more or less, and stopped attending. Jason said it well this morning when a friend of ours from California sounded surprised that we chose to attend services, Jason said: “I’ve always believed in God, just haven’t always believed in church.” I think that was a very good way to put it.
I was raised in the Baptist church near my childhood home and went to its tiny school from preschool through second grade. Beginning in third grade I was enrolled in public school and only attended church with my great-grandparents occasionally. After a while, I stopped going altogether. As a teenager I met my close friend Kerstin and soon became a member of her very small church. I was baptized there and really enjoyed my years in that congregation.
After a couple of years in my favorite little church on Bonita Avenue, I met some new friends and moved to their church the next city over. After a year there I became quite jaded and disappointed because of some truly inappropriate and bad things going on within the teenage youth group. Most of the congregation was significantly older than even my grandparents and the church did not cater at all to young people, just sent us off to the youth room during regular services – which turned out to be a very bad decision on their part. After that experience blew up on all of us, I had no interest in trying out the “church thing” again.
But, like Jason, it’s not that I stopped believing in God, I just didn’t really want to worship with others anymore. He’s been in my heart all this time, but pushed off to the side a great deal. I have to confess that I made some stupid mistakes during this long spell that I’ve been absent His wisdom, but once I had a like-minded and good-hearted husband by my side, things started just falling into place for us. We talked about it and knew that it wasn’t us created all of these opportunities and opening all of these doors, someone else was looking out for us.
So, we decided that once we were moved into our new home in Alabama, we’d search out a church to become our spiritual family. Not one day after we moved in did our neighbors Ronnie and Janet show up on our doorstep (on two separate occasions) inviting us to their church. We went today, and it was a pretty good fit. The pastor spoke about crossing over from spiritual death to life in reference to living without God in your life and after accepting Him into your heart. John 5:24-27 spoke to us this morning and we’re going to give this church a shot.
What I loved most (aside from the amazingly friendly people, I think it’s a Southern thing) was the full orchestra and small choir. In all of my experience, I’ve been accustomed to singing along with either an old organ or a tape recording for background. This church is blessed with many many talented musicians and rely on them for music. They are beautifully lead by a trained music director and fronted by a small choir of about seven people (no color-coordinated robes, they just stand up in front and sing their hearts out).
We brought home the study books for this month’s Sunday school lessons and I’m going to do some reading ahead to be prepared for the coming weeks. The folks are broken out into multiple classes of about 20-30 attendees and speaking out is encouraged. I need to find my Bible before next week, and brush up on the order of all the books – right now I couldn’t tell you where any of them are in relation to another. I’d just have to flip around til I found what I was looking for.
I’m looking forward to next week!