Monday, June 21, 2010

Hi ho! Hi Ho! It's off to work--errr church I go!

That famous Disney song is what comes to mind when I think of church attendance bondage. You know those churches--they make you feel like you are the world's biggest backslider if you're not at church every time the doors open. Between making sure we attend the local church religiously, and making sure we keep our sins confessed and forgiven, when are we supposed to find time to enjoy Christ? When are we supposed to be able to do that resting thing that Jesus promised those who were weary and came to him? I used to think it was when I died and went to heaven. I simply had no time to rest right now... too much to 'do'. Just before I pulled out of the local congregation, I was in more ministries than I cared to be involved in, but felt 'obligated' to be involved--you know.. being God's right hand gal and all...

Meanwhile, I was on my 4th pregnancy, and with my track record--2 out of 3 pregnancies already failed, and I just KNEW this was going to fail, as well. Not to mention that elderly relatives were dropping like flies when the angel of death visited. My firstborn was pretty much being snatched away from me and being raised by his grandparents (well, to hear my side of it, anyways). In all of this, I felt it was my Christian duty to smile at the world, and reply, "oh, I'm fine! Jesus loves us you know!" and carry on as if my whole world wasn't crumbling on the inside. Yessiree! Ms. Susie Sunshine was my name!

Now, please don't misunderstand. I am not advocating "don't go to church". If you attend a local congregation that just thrills you, by all means, go as often as you'd like! Rejoice with your siblings in Christ, and with gladness, become involved. Tell the folks 'hello' for me! What I am advocating against, however, is the, "you-must-go-to-church-every-time-the-doors-are-opened-to-show-God-you're-serious-about-being-thankful-for-your-salvation" pitch. You know those sermons, "God has done so much for you... and how do you repay Him? By skipping out on Wednesday night services? How could you think of doing that? Hasn't God blessed you? What will you do for him in return??" I shudder to remember those sermons. Between those guilt laden sermons, and the weight of the world on top of me.. I had finally reached the end of my rope. I was not Atlas; I was incapable of holding the world up. For some reason, my churchianity and do-goody'ing was not enough to see me through these trials. I so badly wanted to run away, but felt like I would be disappointing God if I did. As if.

So, given that, I could totally relate to the caller on today's broadcast who had finally had it with his local assembly. He knew who he was in Christ, and he wasn't worried about 'having' to attend church. If it meant he and his wife staying home and just studying the Bible together, then that was fine with him. After sharing his heart, he was then invited to visit the same church I attend. (You thought I didn't attend church, didn't you??). Well, it's a new way of 'attending'. Although becoming more popular, some churches have extended their local congregation to the internet. Not only do you have a choice of actually entering into the building and fellowshipping face to face, we now have the option of sitting at our computers at home and listening to the music and teaching as well. So, in essence, this man and his wife might check out my church! I hope I get to meet them! He's correct, no use sweating it---there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that sneaks past God's eyes. He knows what's needed, and makes provision, regardless of our 'doing' or not. If you care to visit with us... c'mon in! We'll save a seat for you!

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