And yes, I know a person can commune with God in nature – I too do this often as many of my photos attest (and oh my! now in my attempts at painting!). I find joy especially in the intricate
detail of our created world, and marvel at its colors and shapes. And I know as well that many people have been turned off by organized religion – out of bad experiences, and sadly some, out of very hurtful experiences.
However, for me church calls me to my full humanity. Here I sit, sing, and work with people I otherwise would never know – people who have come to love me and watch over me, and people I too, have come to love and am happy to help. Church also calls me to family. As an only child it is here that I find brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, motherly and fatherly figures…and now in my “dotage” grandkiddos who delight.
Over the years and through numerous ministers at several churches I have been stretched, deeply impacted by some in ways that reside in my heart and soul still. Church also invites me to share my talents, such as they may be. Here as a part of a knitting ministry I have witnessed the power of healing and love that come with delivering a shawl to someone who is ill or has
lost a loved one. Here too, I can make music with others – even if I do not play flawlessly.
Here, here at this church at this time I know pure unadulterated joy in the music program. At today’s worship four of our choir members opened worship singing “Children’s Letters to God”, a light hearted musical rendition of the questions we all wonder about at one time or another: what does God think about people who do not believe; what’s it like in heaven?; can you God, give me a baby brother?; Dear God, what’s it like when we die? Here we are blessed by a stellar Minister of Music and a cast of wonderful and dedicated singers, as well as a wide range of instrumentalists; oh yes, and a bell choir too!
Were I not a part of this church, of any church, I would be missing out. Because I do not have children I would not naturally have come to know young families – the ones I met 15 and more years ago whose kiddos are now off to college – or out, nor the new young families whose children graced our worship today. The truth is that were I not part of a church, being reminded whose I am and to whom I am ultimately responsible; being called to stretch out of my comfort zone; being challenged to think in new ways – and yes, to change; being invited to support the many ministries of a church with my gifts of finances in addition to my time and my prayers … my life would, I think, be incomplete. It is in the shadow of God’s love and in community with others that I find satisfaction, wholeness. I trust that it might be so for you, whether it’s at church or in temple – wherever you might gather with people who would otherwise be unknown to you – to share common concerns and to love God.