Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church and Friendship

 When I was a kid I didn't understand the importance or purpose of church.  In elementary school we sometimes went to a Baptist church.  My mom liked it because the church would send a bus to pick us up and it got us out of the house for half the day.  What I remember is the kids' church area where we had girls on one side and boys on the other and everything was a competition to see who could sing and yell louder.  In the adult side, which I only glimpsed in passing, I remember the preacher yelling very loudly about hell.

In middle school, my mom took us to a catholic church... where we mainly worked in the nursery taking care of preschoolers and infants.  They had National Geographic magazines in all the bookshelves with pictures of half dressed Africans.  My main memories there are of being told that "We don't use the bible in Catholic catechism classes, so put it away" and the time I set the priest's robe on fire while he was trying to baptize me with oil on my forehead.  Why DID they give an 11 year old a lit candle to hold while doing this?

Now that I'm an adult and a Christian, I understand better that we don't go to church so we can study the bible... we could do that at home, although at my church we REALLY study the bible and I always learn a lot.  We don't go to church to sing songs... we could do that at home, although I really enjoy playing in the band and the worship music is wonderful at our church.  We go to church to have fellowship with other believers and to welcome others who are seeking answers about God and life (and no, the answer isn't 42).  I particularly enjoy my wonderful friends in my Sunday school class who lift me up (and knock me down a peg when I need it) and support me no matter what I share with them.  I also get a kick out of bringing our former foster children to church and spending time with our friends sharing lunch after church.  All the people I rely on most on a regular basis are part of my church family and part of the extended family of God.  And that's why we go to church.

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