My parents’ conversion story goes something like this: We moved to a new town in Missouri and my mom said, “I want to go to church so the kids can make friends before school starts.” She had grown up a Navy kid and when they went to a new town, she would go to the local Disciples of Christ church and join on in. (My mom is great at community!) It was entirely social. She saw a notice about this Independent Christian Church in the newspaper and it mentioned the name of the woman from whom we were buying our house. She said, “We’ll go to this church. We’ll already know someone.” So they went to church to so we could make friends and we all did, with this radical guy called Jesus, a Jesus we were meeting for the very first time. I also made friends with a boy who was in my kindergarten and third grade classes and with whom I shared every Sunday School, Wednesday Night, Thursday Afternoon, VBS, etc. class for four years. We even wrote letters for awhile after I moved away. So it worked on both counts.
I ended the last post mentioning that the church is not just about community for me, but I wanted to clarify. I think it comes across like it is, both when I talk and when I write about it.
In the seven years that I didn’t go to church regularly, I never stopped being a Christian or having a relationship with God. Sometimes it was stronger than others, but I was always actively seeking through prayer, scripture, books, the internet, conversation. But there is a lack when one does not worship with other people, and getting back in to church had to do with filling that gap as well as the community gap. I like listening to our pastor’s sermons. I like reading the lectionary ahead of time and then seeing where she (or he if our associate is preaching) takes it. I love praying together, hearing the word read aloud, and most of all, taking communion. That’s the one thing I couldn’t do alone. I may have once said, “It’s not so much about the service as about having lunch with people afterwords,” but that’s not really true, especially as I’ve discovered the communion of a more liturgical service.