Thursday, February 09, 2006

"What do you ladies love about church?"

Someone asked on another board, so I answered:

Excellent question! But I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I'm a PK (pastor's kid for the men who think it only means Promise Keepers!) and, like a lot of us, I have a bit of baggage when it comes to church.

Sometimes I love going to church and can't wait. Other time, it is a big huge struggle. I've gone to church when it was extremely difficult, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. I go to church knowing it might make me physically sick. (I'm not kidding; my perfume allergies can make church seem like chemical warfare at times. More than once, it has taken me days to recover.)

I go because it is important to get together with the people of God. The Bible commands us not to forsake the assembling together of the saints. Church is far more about Him than about me. The church doesn't exist to make me feel comfortable, to embrace my spirit, to make me feel good about my gender, to be decorated in a way I find appealing (it is amusing that God seems to place me in churches that offend my visual sensibilities), to be filled with music that speaks to me, to preach sermons that tickle my ears, etc., etc.

It's not about me. If I decide to disobey God and stay home, I can't blame the church for being too masculine for my tastes, or too this or not enough that. Instead, I have only myself to blame. Hard words, but after 47 years of churchgoing, I know they are true.

I could come up with a million reasons not to go to church. As a PK, I have seen the dark underbelly. I have been betrayed. Worse still, my father has been betrayed. The church is full of hypocrites. (Good place for them, I say. They need the church as much as I do.)

But Jesus beckons me. The Church is His Bride. The local church is part of His Bride. How hardhearted of me not to love Him and His Bride more. How wrong. How sinful.

So what do I love about church? It is God's people. It is one way in which He continues to sanctify me, especially on those Sundays when I struggle to get there only to feel as if it wasn't worth my time. Then He reminds me that I am here to worship Him --- the church is not here to worship me.

The sanctuary may offend me with its tackiness. The worship team may not sing the songs I like. I may have to duck out and use my inhaler. The pastor's sermon may be all about sports (or so it seems). I may long for a worship service that speaks to me as a woman. But so what? It's not about me.

I love the church...even with all its flaws. May I love it more. May I become more like Christ, to the point that I would be willing to die for His people, for His Bride. Dying to self on Sunday morning seems such a little sacrifice, don't you think?

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