(And my mom just did an air punch.)
Except I didn’t go on Sunday morning. (She just took it back.)
I went to church with my sister and her husband late on Saturday night around their dining room table. We caught up on the lifetime that’s taken place since Christmas in the lives of our kids and our very different worlds. We broke bread, we shared what we had and we received. We stayed up late and our souls grew full in the fellowship.
On Sunday morning, I went to church by myself at the same table with my copy of A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants and my Bible. I may have sat by myself at that table that morning, but I wasn’t alone. Engaging in the lectionary, my voice joined a chorus around the world saying the same Scriptures, whispering the same prayers.
I went to church with my small group that night as we ate dinner and caught up. We listened to each other’s recent victories and continuing struggles. We broke bread and prayed together. We will spend the next three months bearing one another’s burdens and praying for our families and ministries.
I went to church with 80 friends later that night at Vespers as we entered into an 11-hour silence together. Half of us on each side of the room, looking across and seeing the others, together in the presence of a God who speaks if only we would listen. We carried the liturgy together and departed, silent and blessed.
I went to church spontaneously when we learned that one in our community was injured in a bike accident. We joined hands and voices in prayer.
I went to church on Wednesday night and it was one of those “mega-churches.” Yet I was welcomed, not lost. I worshiped with a family I’d just walked into. I listened and took notes and encountered God on a balcony that night.
I went to church right after church when I ate dinner with a friend and we talked about life and ministry and our souls.
I went to church on Thursday in a professor’s office. We caught up on the last sixteen years. I told stories about my kids and my life. We laughed. She told me stories of her kids and their families and it was beautiful to see God’s hand in so many things and so often unrecognized. We prayed together and I left, both of us filled with tears and joy.
I went to church on Saturday at a wedding. It was beautiful and inspiring and full of joy, promise and possibilities. I went to church with 5 complete strangers at the reception and at that table sat the world, gathered in support and in love for our friends.
I went to church the next morning, at the same dining room table as the week before and in the same seat with the same books.
I went to church in my car heading home to my family whom I dearly missed. I prayed for each of them as I drove across Indiana.
I went to church as I listened to podcasts and the audiobook “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg. (I highly recommend it, for what it’s worth.)
I went to church when I finally pulled in at 1:30AM. When I unpacked the car, when I kissed my beautiful children on the forehead and when I stepped on a lego. When I settled into bed, kissed my sleeping wife and whispered a prayer of thanksgiving for all of it, but mostly just for that moment.
I went to church a lot last week. I didn’t get counted on very many attendance sheets or statistic cards. I didn’t sign up for anything or go to a program. I just entered into fellowship with others. I met with the body of Christ that knows no walls.
I went to church a lot last week and I loved every bit of it.