I went to in-person church this week for the first time in a long while. To be honest, I was liking the service being on-line because that meant I didn’t have to leave the house. Nor did I need to get dressed up, or suffer the mask. I could watch while soaking my feet or listen while I baked brownies. But somewhere along the line I felt I was getting too comfy … too soft … too lazy.

I’m fully vaccinated now so I dared to darken the doorway and I’m glad I did. I felt more in tune and more in touch. I was able to focus 100 percent, and found myself relaxing — as if God was hugging me. 

Ever since the change-over that caused me to leave my former church — the place I thought I would die for, my children all stopped attending any church. They say it’s not the same anymore. Others say organized religion is on its way out, and some say that churches are full of hypocrites. 

I have to agree that our old church isn’t the same. It’s a different service, with different people, different music. It’s hard for us to feel at home there now. But it is what it is. Luckily I found another church that meets my needs.

As for church being “on the way out,” well that scares the beejeepers out of me. As if things aren’t already out of hand these days, the world would really fall apart without it. As more people stop going to church, stop teaching their children about God and Jesus, the more lost our children will be. Just as a child needs a parent to nurture and direct, we adults need a similar compass.

I hear people saying “You do you” but if I try to “do me,” I find myself bumping up against people “doing them.”

As for churches being full of hypocrites, that one cut deep. Why? Because while I preach love and forgiveness, when the change-over divided my family I did not take it well. Even though God says not to, I allowed my anger and hurt to grow a root of bitterness inside me that is with me still. It’s hard to forgive something when there is no apology, but they shouldn’t have to apologize for creating a more modern service, so here I am. I’m working on letting it go because I am no longer the person I used to be. I had deactivated my care button — or at least dialed it down to low because it was the only way to survive the situation.

I want to tell people that in reality the churches are full of everyday imperfect human beings, myself included. Every one of us has baggage. Every one of us is, at one time or another, struggling with something and we are just trying to get through the day, the week, the life. Church is where we go to find answers, not to shine our badges. Church is where we go to find forgiveness, scarcely believing we deserve it. Church is where we go to find hope.

We are not hypocrites — we are fallible people looking for the compass. We need church. We need God. And more than anything — we need the forgiveness that Jesus promises.

 

debbiehough@hotmail.com

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