3 am, Saturday night: my first born woke me with a weak voice, "mom?"
And so began our hourly rendez-vous. Me holding her hair back and her being sick over and over again. poor sweetie.
As Sunday morning got closer and closer I tried to figure out what we would do about church. As the Worship Director, I had the choir to lead.... My husband, an Associate Pastor said he could miss, his responsibilities were less. We agreed I would go for the morning and then come home and tag off so he could go back to the church for the annual meeting. (These are the days I think we should live across the street from 760 Charleswood Road...) We also agreed I could leave the other 2 kiddies at home for the morning, to take some of the pressure off (for me). Then we decided that the Young Families group we normally host on Sunday evenings would also be cancelled, so no other children would be exposed to this flu bug!
So what was going to be a very full day ended up being a very quiet day. After I got home, Gavin left for the meeting and then went straight to a buddy's house to watch the Olympic hockey game (yay, Canada!). The kids and I lazed around, napped a little and had more "screens" than we would normally allow. It was lovely!
Upon realizing that our group wasn't coming over, my son lamented, "I miss church!"
This warmed my heart so deeply because as parents in ministry, my husband and I pray that our children won't see church as "the place dad & mom work and pay no attention to us!" You hear the many, many stories about preacher's kids going wayward, and I've always wondered if it's because the kids thought the church was more important than they were.
It made me think that it's not a bad thing to miss church. Sometimes it takes one Sunday. For others it may take much longer to really miss going. But there's something so precious about going to a place where everyone is just like you. The kids don't stick out for being different than their school friends or neighbours, the adults don't feel under attack for their faith. The lonely and hurting are surrounded by people who love them and care about them. The rejoicing have someone to tell.
And for one hour (or more!), we worship and learn together.
Members of one body. United by our love and devotion to Christ, no matter where we are on the journey. Part of the larger Church spread throughout the world, part of God's Kingdom - in the now and 'not yet.'
When church operates as it should, needs are met, people grow and lives are changed. Each of us can take responsibility for making sure this happens in our own faith community!
There have been times where church every Sunday has felt like a burden I had no interest in bearing, but God's Word says:
"God sets the lonely in families."
I'm reminded that I need to let my church be family to me - not to keep people at arms length but to reach out and become invested in others. To let them become invested in me.
"From [Jesus] the whole body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love,
as each part does its work."