Last week was an interesting and exciting time for my wife and I. For more than a year we have floated here and there visiting churches or not going at all. We were aloof with the idea of settling down because we are human and struggled with knowing some of the inner workings of the people at the churches we had been to for extended periods. Some things we probably aught not know and that affected our perception and decisions to ghost our attendance there.
Getting to where we are now has been an uphill battle that still happens to this day. We are not perfect, some Sundays we dip on attending church still. Especially the last month with us closing on our home and moving. What I can tell you is that my wife enjoys where we attend now and that fills my heart with joy and hope. I am a fairly adaptable person, dependent on the subject in question. Church for me is more about the growth of my children and my wife than my personal feelings.
So how did we get to that point? Why the wanderlust? Well, it is our fault really. We blamed the Bride, and that was so very wrong of us to do.
Pointing the Finger
It’s easy to say, ‘The Church did it’ they are the ones who hurt us and that hurt in turn made us turn from attending anymore or for seeking out another church. We did not turn from God, he didn’t hurt us, but all of those reasons are lies that we tell ourselves to cover our own weaknesses in conviction. We hardened our heart towards church in a way that made not going so easy for us to do. ‘Oh, it’s Sunday. Let’s do blah blah’ instead of going to worship.
Reasons that have kept us from settling down have included;
- Did you know that this leader said this word?
- It’s too cliquey.
- I’m not growing.
- They don’t offer anything but Sunday morning service.
The list goes on but those are things that my wife and I have personally used or experienced. There are far worse as well but what value is there in putting that out there? It does nothing to spread the grace of God. Instead, forgiving and loving them in spite of that knowledge is what we should have done. Way easier to type that than it is to act upon it.
It still comes down to the fact that we pointed the finger at the church and proclaimed that they had wronged us when it was a person or small group of people. That doesn’t mean it can’t be worked out. We tried to get over it or work with the challenges and to see the other side of the conversation or opinion. Sometimes it just doesn’t work and you’re beating your head against the wall that God put there because he really does want you to go down a different path!
I can’t tell you which it is. For us it was clear that we were headed other places. We prayed about it, I still pray about it today. For the churches we have visited, the people we have loved on. We can disagree and still pray for one another.
I wish I had some inspirational message on this but I do not. I just wanted to share my life with everyone. It takes three weeks to form a habit or to fall out of one. Going back to church is a conscious effort even after those 21 days pass. If we love Jesus we cannot hate the bride. In fact, Ephesians 1:22-23 explains very clearly that the church cannot be apart from Christ.
Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage stated, “You cannot have God as your Father if you will not have the church as your mother.” he is absolutely right. If you turn inward and examine yourself without attending church vs. when you are attending, you’re going to find some unhappiness there. You cannot claim to love Christ (husband) and hate the Church (bride). Christ loves his bride and we should too.
Let’s be frank about this, loving the church means loving the people. It is much easier to love some more than others but if we love Christ, we have to love the Bride and all of those people make up the Bride, not just the kind ones. I mean look at these faces…loving them is so easy.
For the last few months, moving aside, we have been attending at Hudson First and have enjoyed it immensely! Our children are engaged and enjoy telling us what they have learned. My wife wants to be part of the women’s bible study and I am tickled as can be. This was not some sudden occurrence but happened over time. Meaningful prayer asking God for direction, an intentional attendance with the conscious understanding that the church is ran by imperfect people so there is no perfect church ran by man, and ultimately we needed to find sound teaching.
We believe we have found that and could not feel any more blessed!