"

Monday, September 9, 2013

When Showing Up Is All I Can Do

There are plenty of Sundays I attend church although I would rather be somewhere else.  There are Sundays when the weather seems too perfect to be inside; when I'd rather sit at one of the outside tables at my local pancake house and read the Sunday paper.  There are Sundays when my mind is racing with too many thoughts or there are too many things on my "to do" list for the week.  And there are just Sundays when I'm tired of church; tired of the hypocrisy of religion...days when my doubts outweigh my beliefs.  But I show up...

Sometimes I attend church out of duty and obligation; as a minister, I'm expected to go to church. As a Christian parent, I'm obligated to raise a child "in the way she should go."  There are plenty of Sundays when the service is just boring; the minister preaches for way too long; and the ushers act confused.  There are Sundays when the announcements, which are printed in the bulletin and broadcast on a screen, are repeated 10 more times just because people like to hear themselves talk on the mic.  But I show up... 

I show up because God always meets me when I am faithful.  Sometimes, God shows up in the parking lot of church, greeting me with a firm handshake.  Sometimes God shows up in laughter during coffee time in the church basement.  Sometimes God shows up in the face of the impossibly cute toddler who wants to play peekaboo with you all service long.  I show up and God shows up, and not necessarily in the message that is being delivered.

Our churches are far too pastor-centric.  We are so busy expecting the "Word" to come from the pastor, that we miss the "Word" that comes in other forms.  Sometimes the Word comes from the person sitting next to you; sometimes the Word comes from seeing the person who was in the hospital last month, dancing in the aisle this month. Sometimes the Word comes from the audacious hat that one of the church mothers is wearing.  God's Word is all around us, not just streaming from the pulpit.

In the sights and sounds and colors and textures of the church, God speaks to me.  And yes, sometimes the sermon blesses my soul.  But not every Sunday brings revelation; not every Sunday brings some transformative change into my life; not every Sunday soothes my doubts and calms my fears. But every Sunday brings me joy...joy in the simple pleasure of being present among the people of God.

© Yolanda Pierce

1 comment:

Ken O'Brien said...

Yes, but don't forget that an occasional 'Church of the Brunch' at PJ's can do the heart good too...