She pulled up to the large building – a mostly brick facade that had clearly experienced many add-ons and renovations over the years. She looked at the clock, 9:25. Five minutes until the start of service. She quickly grabbed her purse and walked through the packed parking lot to the back to the church.
She was greeted at the door by a friendly greeter, and another along the way. At the entrance of the sanctuary, another greeter smiled at her as the crowd found their seats for the beginning of service. She sat near the back at the end of an empty row.
She surveyed the sea of bodies. This church was about three times the size of the one she had grown accustomed to, both in size and number. She took it all in feeling a bit overwhelmed. They were greeted and asked to greet each other – she found one other soul in the hundreds to shake hands with before returning alone to her seat.
The strains of music started for a time of worship.
Alone or not, she was here to spend time with her Abba. She knew very well she could worship Him alone or in a crowded room, so that’s what she did. Letting the world fade away, taken into the presence of the King. His peace flowed over her, and she knew He was with her in the midst of this great crowd.
Then, it was time for the sermon. A guest, as it happened to be this Sunday.
He spoke straight to her heart. The preacher picked a passage she barely knew existed, one that left her with many questions when he finished reading it. Questions he seemed to answer as he went. This adorable older gentleman moved her heart in a way few younger preachers had been able to do in recent times. He spoke with knowledge, truth, and wisdom. Something her heart had been missing for a while.
When that was done, she set out to find a Sunday school class that would suit her. Yet, it seemed as if none was quite right. She felt a little like Goldie Locks reading their descriptions in the bulletin. But, she settled on the young adults class, figuring it would be a good one to try.
It began in a bit of chaos, with the young leader seeming to be a bit on the frazzled side.
But, once he began to speak, he had her full attention. Speaking on perhaps one of the most depressing books of the Bible (yet, one of her favorites), and yet tying it all together with the final words of wisdom. Solomon’s meaning, his great wisdom of loving God & loving others.
The young man before her spoke with such passion, and a little humor, and with wisdom beyond what she had initially judged to be in him. She immediately regretted her initial judgement, noting some great potential for the speaker. She could see his love of Scripture and his love of God pouring out of him. It was an energy that moved through the room, captivating even the most distractible younger ones.
It was in this moment, she felt a bit of home. A bit of like-mindedness with this new group. A group that seemed to share her desire to learn and grow. Who also loved Her Abba and sought relationship with Him and His children.
Though she was clearly the oldest in the room, and that may not be her place to fit and grow in the long run, it was just right for a first Sunday, and she left feeling a little less like Goldie Locks. It may not be the “just right” quite yet, but she knew she had time to find that “just right”.
As she returned to her car, she decided she would return, for one more week, to see what God had the next week. Perhaps, this would be the right place, after all…
This is what came of me stepping into my home church – the church in which I spent most of my growing up years – not as a loved member, but as a visitor. A guest. Someone new to the area looking for a church home. I went without my family and haven’t yet reconnected with old friends that remain, so I decided to go in with new eyes. Would I be greeted? Would I feel welcomed? Would I connect with the congregation, the sermon, a Sunday School group? And, it was an interesting experience. Being so big, it really was as if I was a visitor. Seeing very few familiar faces, and talking to even fewer.
I haven’t found a “just right” place in the body, but technically, it was only my second week back. I’m basically still just visiting home. But, I am finding my way.
And, this (following my move back to the Mid-West) has led to my theme for this years Write 31 Days challenge. I’ll be writing on the theme of Finding Home. Join me this October (beginning tomorrow), I will be writing each day on the topic. It’s quite the challenge 🙂 But, I look forward to sharing it with you.