I have had people who I consider to be more religious or the new term that everyone seems to feel okay with, spiritual, that I talk about being “fed” or “fulfilled” with their message at church. I don’t go to a mega church, or a hip and modern church. I go to a very traditional Protestant church. I don’t mean traditional in terms of a certain political or social leaning, just in the sense of being a church. We still have a liturgy that people of our denomination all across the nation are preached the same lesson or sermon simultaneously because that is the chosen scripture or book or subject of the week. We sing out of a hymnal. We have an order to our worship. We say the Lord’s Prayer, etc.
Various times over the more than a decade that I have lived in D.C. region, I have wondered if there was a church that could fulfill me more. One with more members, prosperity,more families, more people my age. I have not necessarily been brought to tears but a few times from what I heard in the sermon and I wondered if I needed to feel that way more often. When I take a break from church a lot of the summer, I don’t necessarily long to go back. So does that mean that it is something lacking in the church or within me?
I guess it could be a combination of both. Perhaps our church has become a bit stagnant. We are set in our ways at more than half a century old. I am one of the youngest members and see a need for so many changes. But what do I know? I also, as a person need to change a lot. But it takes a lot of courage and ‘get up and go’ to make real change in oneself or in an institution. I am a wonderful person when it comes to plans and ideas and have helped a lot in that way. But execution of these great thoughts are not what I am always the best at. Sometimes I never complete my vision. I put it out there, but it never comes to fruition. If the church is the same way, can I really blame them?
I had a VERY good time at church today and I do not feel that way very often. Between an early Sunday school, choir practice, the church service itself and several meetings afterward, I laughed a lot. Sometimes my devilish side comes out when in church and I know that part of it is not right, but part of it is all in good fun-GOD does have a sense of humor. The way that people carry themselves on committees and with authoritative positions in the church makes me chuckle quite a lot. I have a friend in church that I can complain to, discuss with and laugh about these situations, which makes in nice.
I had a thought as I was fixing a bite to eat when we got home, and it basically was: “Spiritual nourishment cannot come just from church or hearing the word preached. It comes from ourselves-within. It comes from seeking God through prayer at home. Reading and writing in a devotional. Reading the Bible on our own. Praying before meals. In essence, being spiritually fed is a collective act and if we as Christians or believers of God of any faith do not feel fed, well then perhaps it is our fault.
I have some new friends that we are meeting up with later who go to an Ethical Society rather than a traditional church. They are humanists-whatever that really means. She said it is partly secular and partly spiritual. But they go there to worship. I say, whatever it takes for someone to feel good about their life and to connect with God, or whatever being they feel leads them, go for it. I don’t agree that this society is quite what God meant when he talked about fellowship at church. But, I don’t know their hearts, God does. So, I try to not judge them. I am just thankful that they are seeking goodness and morality because deep down I know that all of it is connected to God. God is love. No God, no peace. Know God, Know peace.
We have all heard that saying. I believe it. I feel that a lot of people who down spirituality, really just fear it. So, whether you are religious, spiritual, both or neither. If you feel a longing that cannot be satisfied by human means, start with yourself before pointing the finger at others. Some people do not try to seek God because there is accountability, and like other relationships, it takes work. If people pretend that God/Jesus does not exist, then their life is just easier. Until it isn’t. That is when they start grasping for answers that they cannot find through Google or through friends. Instead of criticizing these folks, give them a hand. Say a prayer. Though I sometimes do not feel these words, I know that they are true. Prayer works…