Friday, 10 August 2012

In which I'm missing Church...but not really.

Honestly, I really, really love Church services.  They are often what keeps me going, and they give me the most amazing boost, joining together with others who are so very different but are all connected by their faith builds me up and makes me stronger, every time without fail.

Going away with family meant missing two Church services.  I found this particularly hard as these were the last opportunity before I fly off on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  I love to go to 'my Church' as I call it.  I shouldn't call it that at all, for all of the separate parts of Church are Church and they are all His, and though they do all make mistakes, though they all make wrong decisions, though they all have disagreements, they are all beautiful, they are all His beautiful, broken bride.

The Church with which I meet with on a Sunday morning are amazing.  They are not perfect, they make mistakes, but they keep saying sorry and God keeps forgiving.  They are amazing. So, so, so amazing! They support me unbelievably, and they force me to realise that I am loved, very, very loved.  I owe this mission trip to them, for if they had not gotten around me and supported me in this adventure, it would never have happened.  I love them a lot, and when I miss Church services, I really, really struggle. 

So, to be honest, I did not really want to go away with my family, but I didn't have much choice in the end and so away I went.  Was it easy? Absolutely not!  After spending the week before with so many Church it was even harder to suddenly be pulled away from them all, and i did end up feeling lonely and in need of a hug.  But God used it, He always does if you let Him, He used it to remind me of just how much I love Church, for they are my family, and He also used the time away to show me that even when I'm not with Church physically, their support is still there, and they are still willing to get behind me for every step of the way.

But even greater than both these things He showed me the greater picture.  I met with my brother's group of Church on one of the Sundays that I was away.  In attending their service, I seemed to finally open my eyes to the truth.  These people are my brothers and sisters.  This group of Church in particular were incredible at just how brotherly and sisterly they were, giving me acceptance as one of them even as someone completely new.  But surely this is how it should always be?  For though I do not know them all, globally, I have millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of brothers and sisters, and the most amazing thing is that they are willing to hold out their hands in support of me, because they know I am their sister  This connection I have with these people is deeper than any worldy 'knowing someone' can ever be, because it has God at the centre, and when He is at the centre, mountains bow down and seas roar.

The beautiful, beautiful, beautiful group of Church my brother meets with taught me a lot.  Particularly about acceptance.  God used them to equip and prepare me for being away from so many family and friends for two weeks.  He showed me, through them, this global family that I have.

I will miss the group of Church that I call home whilst I am away, I will miss them so, so, so greatly, but I will be safe in the knowledge that Church is so much greater than them, so, so much bigger, and the support is truly immense.  So, i am missing Church...but not really, because how can you miss something that is still with you?

Church is overflowing, because God's love cannot be confined or bottled up, it spills over and floods the earth.  It goes with you wherever you go.

*Something I really don't like saying is, 'going to Church' because it is not something you 'go to' it is something you are part of, and not just on a Sunday but all the time. Church is very much the people, rather than the building in which they meet.*