Closer together or further apart?

Well, how was your week?  Mine was good, but I lost track of time and didn’t make it to Friday Eucharist so now I have to go Sunday for sure. I like to go to church.  Always have. Ever since I was a little bitty thing. I grew up on North Cherry Street right across from the first Baptist Church in Commerce so it was pretty easy for me to get to and from Sunday school even though both my parents were working at the restaurant on Sunday morning.

I think about that sometime and wonder why I always wanted to go to church and Sunday school even though my parents didn’t and there are so many people who say when they were kids, their parents made them go and they never go to church now that they are grown.

I have a theory about that. Because my parents never went to church, when I got home from church or Sunday school, someone would sometime ask me about what I had learned. I would show them my papers and tell them the stories and sometimes sing the songs. I always liked to sing, and the Baptist Sunday school songs were always easy to sing and the words told a story that was easy to understand and gave you something to think about.

What I didn’t have at my house was the church gossip and in retrospect I believe it was the absence of  such nonsense that allowed me to remain oblivious to the negative things about church involvement until I was married with children of my own.  By then I had begun going to the Christian Church, not Disciples, and the women had limited input concerning church leadership, but my husband was active. As time passed I became more aware of church politics, and as much as I hate to admit it, my children did not enjoy the many years of being able to go to a place on Sunday morning where everyone was always nice to every body, and “miraculously” church and Sunday school occurred that I did.

In spite of their enlightenment, my children continued to attend services throughout their teens and into their adult years.  Eventually their father and I were confirmed in the Episcopal Church. By their own choosing, the children followed. Eventually most were also confirmed in the Episcopal Church, as have been several of the grandchildren. Today, most of them  attend services somewhere, some more frequently than others.

My own church attendance has been sporadic the last three or four years.  But I like the feeling of fellowship that is present at All Saint’s on Friday morning and I can’t believe I forgot this week

A couple of weeks ago Mother Susan told the story about the old preacher using the analogy of how a coal separated from the fire loses its heat to a Christian who does not attend church services loosing her zeal.  It’s a good analogy, but as with all antidotes there are exceptions.

There have been fires started because a hot coal or a few hot embers found tinder in unexpected places and many people have found the strength, wisdom and patience to help or serve others by taking some time away from church involvement.

One time a friend, with tongue in cheek, mentioned she attended the “church of the backyard.” I thought it sounded like a good idea. I have a big back yard. I think it would be so neet if we just had folks bring their own chair or quilt to sit on and we could just get together ever so often and visit and pray about what ever was on our mind or in our heart. You know the promise is that “when two or three are gathered….” I am sure we could get more than two or three.

Just a quiet, safe atmosphere with time to talk about what ever is bothering us without fear of being ridiculed or worse ignored, followed by a prayer for wisdom and guidance.

Please do not misunderstand. I would not want to live in a community where there are no organized churches.  I just sometimes feel as though instead of bringing us closer together, having so many different churches each with its set of rules drives us further apart.

Well, I have three flats of pansies to plant. See you next week.

Until then,

I bid you peace.