The beauty of the church

I walk into the church. I see a sea of faces all chatting and welcoming one another. I see the lady who has just lost a family member being embraced and children running around excitedly before they head off to their Sunday club.
The noise is loud. But it’s not hostile in any way.
I see new comers being welcomed in and introduced to people so they don’t feel alone during the service.
There are the teen-agers in their trainers, all looking as enthusiastic as the adults around them, happy to see their friends who perhaps they’ve missed in the week.

The service is about to begin. The atmosphere is tangible with expectation and when we all stand to sing our praises an incredible sense of peace, power and excitement fills the room. I’m not sure what happens exactly. I heard it described once as heaven invading. As our songs of worship go up, the glory of God comes down. It really can feel that way. I’m sure it’s a taste of what’s to come in heaven! It’s an honour to be able to be in a place we get to experience a slice of it. Isn’t it wonderful? What ever it is, it’s my favourite part of the entire morning!

After a while we all take our seats. Notifications can snap us back out of the zone, but then prayer once again pulls us back. Again the same feeling I described in worship can be felt, but this time less excited. A sense of calm washes over us. I feel focused and ready to listen.
Again the sermons are invaluable. I’ve read the bible almost every day for my entire life, but still every time I listen I see a something written in a new light. It amazes me, after so much study of one book there is still so much to learn!
I’m so grateful for leaders that guide us through that and help to open our eyes.

Confession. I haven’t been to church in a long time. I still go to bible studies, but for over a year now I have barely stepped foot in a church and I miss it. My heart aches for it. Genuinely.
We were designed to be a part of this beauty.

There are a lot of reasons I haven’t been in so long. Despite the areas I feel the church have room for improvement (there is always room for that, we are made of humans and never entirely perfect.) it’s not the reason.
Moving to a new area plays a part, as do having two children who are autistic and struggle there.
But the true reason is, I’ve needed time to process. Spending my whole life in the church has been amazing, but I needed the time to study alone. I needed to work out what I believed and why I believed it, instead of having people tell me.
I needed to search and find who God was to me personally.
I knew some things I felt, were things that I would be in the minority on, and I wasn’t strong enough.

So instead I’ve used the time away for growth. It’s been a phase of transition. A phase of learning. I have a lot of friends to thank that have stuck by me and allowed me to work things through alone. Friends to thank for being there to sound things off and discuss things when I needed too and for giving me the room to breathe.
I’ve learned so much in this time, it’s been a challenge. Answering your own questions, acknowledging those questions that have no answers and figuring out where you fit is not an easy challenge! I’m also grateful for a very patient God, who hasn’t once turned his back.

This blog is, in a way, a final stage of this journey. A way to put a voice to the things I believe, things that I’m so passionate about.

I don’t speak out about things we need to work on within the church because I hate it, I speak out because I love it so much and it hurts my heart that we get things so wrong at times that people miss the beauty. It is beautiful.

One day I truly believe that we can be united. Where sexual orientations no longer isolate. A time that we won’t be divided on the role women have in church. I want to be a part of that change so badly! We will never be perfect, but we are beautiful and all we can ever strive to do is seek the heart of God.

I can’t wait to get back πŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “The beauty of the church

  1. What a beautiful post about the most beautiful places in the world.

    I think retreating in to the wilderness for a while and spending some time alone with God, or at least time to settle your thoughts and your heart before diving back in, is such an important and Biblical part of any Christian’s journey. I did it in 2011/12 – took about twelve months away to process and rejig my mind before diving back in to what I knew would – post-coming out – be a more hostile environment.

    The secret place is where our hearts and our prayers really matter, not the things we say from a pulpit. And taking the time to refocus and get space from Christendom is the only way to stay authentic and in touch with the rest of humanity. After all, there’s no point being salt and light if you’re only preaching to the choir.

    Have you read Sarah Bessey’s book Jesus Feminist? I’d seriously recommend it – I’ve started it recently, I’m about 1/3 of the way through and it’s absolutely brilliant.

    Like

    • Thank you πŸ™‚
      The time away has been invaluable. I’m glad your own time away was so helpful for you too. We all need space to breathe and be alone with God.
      Especially after coming out!
      It’s nice to be able to go back knowing I have a clear head and having figured out what’s important πŸ™‚

      I’ve heard some good things about Sarah Bessey and read a few of her blog posts. Will make a point in investing in her book. Sounds fascinating! Thanks for the recommendation πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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