More of a Sunday post, but let’s just roll with it.
I was at church yesterday (obvi, or this post wouldn’t be happening…) and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been there. Each time I go, it feels like I’m getting a huge slap in the face but in a good way. Do you ever feel that way? If you go to church and you sit down and you’re just like “Ok, Sunday, woo worship YEAH! Praise!, nice prayer, good, good” and then it’s like “GAH! RIGHT IN THE FEELS!” Followed very quickly by a “Thank you, Jesus, I needed that!” Lately, it’s been happening to me every time I step foot into this new church that I’ve been going to and I have really been enjoying it.
I’ve struggled on here to really articulate my feelings towards the church and my own spiritual journey. I have been raised in the church and have been going since I was 2 years old. I witnessed my parents get baptised (can actually remember it happening) and then was baptised myself. But when I strayed, I strayed hard. For years I had nothing to do with the church – trying to develop my faith by myself with no fellowship with others (it didn’t work ya’ll).
Yesterday at church, someone put it into a perfect sentence. The church taught me, but the church didn’t show me what it taught. Right away I was like YES!!! This is it! This is what I have been struggling with!!
The church taught me to love my neighbour and not to pass judgement. It taught me that only those without sin should cast the first stone, that Jesus kept company with outsiders and thus I shouldn’t condemn them as well. That when Christ was born and then died for my sins, the old covenant with God (the old testament one) was broken and that Christ formed this new covenant. The church taught me to be uplifting to my fellow Christians, to join in fellowship with them and to quietly speak to them and offer guidance when I see them struggling.
These are some of the things that the church has taught me.
But the church didn’t show me these things. It has shown me ridicule of choices, of pastors alienating their congregations by preaching judgement and condemnation from the pulpit. It has shown me criticism for other sectors of the Christian faith, for others who don’t follow Christianity. It has shown me open humiliation for private acts. It has shown me pettiness and distrust. It has shown me exclusion. It has shown me a hard and fast tie with the old covenant with God, an unwillingness to break from its instruction while still proclaiming that Christ formed a new one. It has shown me an unwillingness to forgive past transactions and hold judgement over them. It has shown me a lack of brotherly love for those who have made choices in life that the church wouldn’t approve of.
I can now articulate why I left the church. Why I was so dissatisfied with my fellow Christian, with my pastors. Even now I can see these things happening in my parent’s church. My mum has declared a “war” on her pastor, and at first, I thought she might have been overreacting but then I started to get details and I have to say I’m starting to support her. Not to the extent she is taking it, but I do support her.
Then I reflect on my choice in church. How this desire just came over me to find one during lent and just when I was starting to lose my ambition, I found one. And this church is showing what it’s teaching and I couldn’t be happier.
It was a guest speaker who said this line yesterday, and then our regular pastor stood up and started to sing a hymn – it’s one that I love. Great is thy faithfulness. It’s amazing – it starts off kind of slow and then when you reach the chorus it’s like this outpouring of joy from the depths of everyone’s soul. And we sang it without any instruments to back us up, which I think just makes it sound all the more beautiful.
So if you need a little bit of a pick me up, have a listen.