Hola. Happy Sunday.
Today I am thinking about "church homes." When I was a little girl, my sisters and I didn't go to church, per se. We did, however, go across the street to the Christian Church and do Sunday School. It was a time where we sang kid hymns and had fun. Then, we would all go to our classrooms and have a lesson or something. It was fun. Then, Mom decided when I was 13, that it was time to return to her Lutheran roots. She had been confirmed in the Lutheran Church in the next town over. I think a lot of things prompted her return to the Church. Our father, her husband of 38 years, had died the year previous. She had had a heart attack herself, 6 months after he died, and I was diagnosed with some endocrine things. The way she broached the subject with us, though, was by saying, "I've heard there is a new pastor over at LutheranChurch, and from what I hear, he's really good. We're going to start going." That was about the week before Lent started in 1996. YS and I kind of looked at each other and were like, "Is she serious?"
We liked the ease of the Christian Church, and were not thrilled about going to some new place that we'd only been about two or three times in our life.
That first Wednesday in Lent rolled around, and we went to the service. I honestly don't remember much at all about it, except that it was different from what I was used to, and that Ma made us put dresses on. (I HATE WEARING DRESSES!).
After we got home from that Lenten service, Ma said, "We're going to go on Sunday, too." YS and I were thinking, "Are you kidding me?" But, we started going. And every Saturday night we would ask Ma, "Do we have to go to church in the morning?" And every Saturday night, Ma would say, "Yes. We're going to church in the morning." This went on for probably about six months until she said, "Yes, we're going to church in the morning. Stop asking." So, whatever. The pastor was really nice to us. We just missed our friends and messing around at Sunday School.
I don't really know at what point I actually started LIKING church. I remember once when Ma was away on a weekend and I wanted to go, even though she wasn't there to make us. YS didn't though, so I think she won out. However, I have been to church by myself many times henceforth.
And here I am, at a Lutheran seminary, preparing to become a leader of the Church myself. It's kind of bizarre, this twist in my life that has helped lead me here. YS still doesn't like church, but she is a baptized and confirmed member. Sis also was baptized and confirmed as an adult because she saw YS and I doing it. And she has since had her own children baptized. That makes me thrilled, to say the least.
So, back to "church homes." My home church has been a place of tremendous growth and support for me. The nurturing they have shown is amazing, and I am incredibly thankful for their feedback and caring. So, when I came here, one of the most difficult things has been finding a place to worship that feels "right." The places here in town that I have been to are nice, but for me, there is just something missing. I had a dream one night that I found a place, and I immediately KNEW it was right. Well, a bunch of friends and I went out of town a few weeks ago to worship at a place. When we got out of there and piled back into the car, we all were babbling with excitement because this was "right" for all of us! It's so exciting. We didn't go last week because there was Sunday worship on campus, but this week, I went back and took another friend because the pals I went with last time have already gone for Thanksgiving. I still really liked it. The people are warm and inviting, and they actually WELCOMED AND SPOKE with us! It was so AWESOME!
I'm a little excited; can you tell?! I just hope that when the snow starts a-flyin' that we will continue to be able to go there. It's a great congregation with a new pastor (A recent graduate of the mothership). They still use the LBW (nothing against the ELW, I just have a special fondness for the old green hymnal).
So, even though my church home will always be my church home, it's nice to have a place that fits while I'm here; a place that feels authentic and warm, almost like a fleece blanket. While I'm sure that many people are fed and are happy with the churches in town, I am so thankful for another place where I feel a part of the family again. It's nice. Thanks be to God!