Over and over my liberal arts education has caused everything in my life to collide...this weekend, especially. After I awoke this morning and prepared to attend yet another church, I was distressed with the fact that I'm a sophomore and am still church-hopping. My mind wandered during the service, exploding with events from the weekend. None of these events ever seem to pan out quite the way I always hope they will.
And I started thinking about the church. What is the church? Why am I still wandering in the desert waiting for Christ to call me somewhere? Why, after a whole year and almost a quad do I feel as if I'm still in transition, losing friendships I thought would last forever in replacement of uncertainty? The only thing I knew as I sat there was that I don't like dressing up for church. Yes, that's the profound thought that entered my mental framework. Great. Great start, deciding where I want to go to church based on my own preferences and going against cultural norms of Sunday's best attire all at once. But I began to unpack that thought. The Sabbath is a time for us as Christians to give up our control...to tell God that we're a mess, and that we need everything He is because no one else can ever be Him. I want to feel comfortable in my church. Is that such a horrible thing? A lot of messages have registered in my head since being at Wheaton, and I feel like some of them aren't Biblical. I think our own preferences are important. Actually, I don't think God cares where we go to church, as long as His truth is resonating in our hearts.
The irony each of us encounter on a Sunday morning is astounding; we hear sermons about how WE can better live out the Christian life, but where does God fit into our attempts. As a helper? He is OUR GOD, not the other way around. I wish more services could be focused on the nature of God, not how we can supposedly better connect with Him. Our works are definitely not going to accomplish anything. We need to say we can't live out the Christian life better because our attempts outside of Christ are ridiculously futile. We need to stop seeing sermons as a checklist on whether we're right with God or not, whether we've done what He wanted us to do. Reality check= we haven't. He loves us...can't we just be? I want to be at my church. I want to come in sweatpants and just be with my Maker. Ha, so I'm not planning on going to church in sweatpants next week, but that's the sense of comfort I long for in the body of Christ. I understand why people dress up, and I respect their reverence, but that's not me. I feel composed, put-together, like I'm holding in the chaos of what's actually happening inside me...I feel in control when I look my best. This is why I think it's okay to say that's not me, despite popular belief that "it's not about us." No, in essence it's not about us, but church is how WE connect to GOD and EACH OTHER. And that's a three-way street.
Interestingly, the pastor started talking about Christ as the hub of the church. My roommate explained yesterday about this video she watched in sociology about how in 6 connections, you are connected to everyone in the entire world, but how scientists are finding out that this is only possible because of hubs, like celebrities or powerful people. Christ is our hub. Without Him, we can no longer be connected to humanity. You may disagree because non-Christians are connected to non-Christians...however, they aren't really ontologically connected. They are just two people who find camaraderie in loving themselves and finding companionship in that similarity. In order for the water to spring forth, we must locate the faucet. I have found my faucet in Christ, but I still search for the manifestation of that on Earth.
As some final stray thoughts, my friend Dominique posted a song by Steve Moakler, and these lyrics struck me particularly:
The human heart is a scary part in fact
Because I could break you and you could break me back
Though my head says just forget it, you'll get hurt and you'll regret it
Ask me now, and I won't hesitate//
I've found myself hesitating this week, to express my thoughts, to admit my faults because I'm afraid of being broken. We forget so often that our Father is the only one who has the potential to completely destroy us but is the only one who won't. Refine us, but not tear us apart. So, I guess I urge all of you to be honest in your petitions before the Lord. Don't be afraid to admit your preferences. And to not be shamed by a nomadic state, because after all, as brothers in sisters in Yahweh, we are all in transition.
Excuse me while I fall for the very Creator of my heart ;)