church: a second home

>> Friday, February 13, 2009

I just had a conversation with a friend about church. It became even more evident to me that I am not the only one who has been searching for a place to call (church) home.

My history with churches has been long and winding. My parents had an attitude that I would make my own decisions regarding church. They did not belong to any church nor did they sway me in any way. In some ways they allowed me to "experiment" with different churches.

I began attending a church for holiday pageants through nursery school and later girl scouts. Then I attended a church with the neighbor kids. I actually liked that church for a while, but eventually found out they didn't like me.

Apparently my tendency to smoke cigarettes and swear like a truck driver (thanks, dad) didn't go over well. In the end, a boy I had a crush on was given the task of asking me to leave-permanently.

I did not attend church for a long time. I guess I was feeling a little put off (read: bitter) by the last experience.

Finally I took the plunge again to a church I had visited briefly as a kid with my dad. The doors opened to me. Really. I felt like I was coming home and although it had been remodeled since I had last been there 25+years ago, I still got the feeling of welcome and comfort that I remembered.

They tell us at every service, "Visitors are welcome to attend all church functions and meetings." To me, that says welcome more than anything else. People also light candles for little concerns all the way to HUGE concerns and all levels of joy. I love that.

This experience has renewed my faith in the openness of people.