And It Must Be Said

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why I Love Church

When I was in college I attended a church that I dearly loved. Sunday mornings I leaped out of bed to go with my roommates because we really loved going just that much. When I graduated and got married we attended a new church that I dreaded going to. I came up with every excuse I could think of to explain why I couldn’t go: I was sick, I was too tired, I’d go late, leave early, go to youth group only. I hated it. It was a bad combination – part me, part the church. We weren’t friends. Of course its 100 times worse when your husband is a pastor there. Ugh. How awkward.

So I was floored when I came across “Church: How I go without getting angry,” a chapter title in Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. I couldn’t believe he actually wrote it, but I was encouraged. I’d been thinking it for years.

But this past Sunday I wanted to write a chapter called “Why I love going to church” because it was quietly possibly the best service I have ever been to.

Our pastor was broken this summer over depression. Sunday it showed. He talked about ripping pages out of his Bible and using them to smoke weed in his dorm room. He talked about melting with love when his granddaughter says “pops” and that God melts over us just like that.
And then some collegian young woman sang Chris Rice’s “Untitled Hymn” before we took communion. This was no schmaltzy “special” music with a half-tone-deaf choir member singing against a Sandi Patti instrumental accompaniment. This was a simple, beautiful song with a piano quietly padding chords and a sweet, clear, breathy voice telling us to “Fly to Jesus.” I wept.

Don’t you love when church is what it is supposed to be?

Today I am thanking God for church, Sandra McCracken songs, egg salad and 11 really awesome college students.