I did not like church as a child. To be honest, it was not my favorite thing to do on the weekends. My parents were church hoppers and it was hard to get to know anyone at any one church. I cringed when they would tell us that there was a new church we were going to try.
I hated the “newbie” feeling. I always felt it was strange when someone would tell me they went to the same church their whole lives. I also had a hard time following Bible lessons because we were oftentimes thrown into the middle of them.
We were Catholic. I remember our Sundays were full of donuts. Our neighbors would always bring a big box of donuts and we would linger after church. I must have been about seven. I know I must have taken Communion, but I remember the donuts more.
When we first visited a non-Catholic church, I was in awe of the music and the energy in the service. To this day, I remember the woman who sat in front of us. She smelled like strawberries and danced like there was no tomorrow. Her wavy hair swished back and forth to the music as her hands and feet kept rhythm. I loved it. I truly felt God’s presence. Even at that young age, I felt so connected. The songs stayed in my head all week. I even looked forward to Sunday school all week. I anticipated the Sunday praise.
The next Sunday, my parents informed me and my brothers that we would be trying a new church. It turned into a routine. We spent a month at the most somewhere and then we moved on to the next church. One or two stints lasted longer. We would be sewn into the congregation only to say goodbye again to another group of friends.
I began to dislike church. It felt like drama. I heard more about what other people were doing than Jesus. I learned that being in a church did not mean you were safe guarded against the evils of the World. I think it I good to know this; however it seemed to be what I learned the most.
I’m sure my parents meant well. They just looked for perfection in an imperfect place. It may seem funny to think such a place is flawed, but our humanity sometimes makes it so.
Think of who Jesus chose as disciples. They were not free of sin. When Jesus said to His disciples “follow me”, He took them in along with their baggage. While they were never without sin, they were with forgiveness.
I cannot lie. I struggle with church. It’s hard for me to not be picky like my parents as I focus too much on my brothers and sisters and not who we are there to learn about and celebrate.
I do not want my children to grow up disliking such a blessing in their lives. God gives us this community to help us grow and to encourage each other.
Have you ever struggled with going to church?