I was asked recently why I went to church and answered with something I felt was lacking. I thought about what I should have said for several days. Prayed over it and knew I needed a better way to explain why I’ve stayed in
organized religion and why I encourage others to do so.
Finally, sitting in church one Sunday morning, I realized why. It’s because I’m a soprano. Yes, it made perfect sense! Let me explain, I sing soprano but I want to sing alto. I love sitting in front of my best friend and hearing her sing alto. As long as I can hear her, I get to sing alto, too. The truth is, I can sing alto on my own but it’s not good. I did it one time a few years ago at a youth event. We were singing a beautiful song but no one was singing the alto part so I figured I could handle that. I knew I was a bit off key and didn’t have the exact tune but I kept trying to find it. I knew I would. (This is where a more qualified narrator would step into the scene, look at you point blankly, and in a deep, authoritative voice say, “She never did.”) It was so bad that the teenagers in front of me turned around when the song was over and looked at the mess of the person sitting behind them.
Maybe I need to clarify, church isn’t about singing. I don’t go to church just to sing. I go because I am in sin recovery. I need group therapy. And so much more importantly than singing, I want to be more compassionate, kind, and merciful. I want to hear how someone else understands Scripture. I want to know their God stories. I want to learn how to reach out to the lost and broken better. I need help. I can’t grow on my own. Nothing does. Church is where God puts us with those who are where we want to be so we can learn from them.
I have a hard time getting caught up in the chaos of the world. I get frustrated and angry at the things going on in this world. I get downright terrified about what is happening right around here. I get disillusioned with other Christians who claim to follow Christ but refuse to love their neighbor. I need to walk with those farther along on their faith journey. Those who love and do life well. I need them and God knew I would.
We need each other. We need accountability. We need family. And not the broken, disposable family of the world. Real family. Family that some of us are foreign to.
We need to hear the stories of others walking with Jesus and the lessons they’ve learned from those stories. We need their advice. But more importantly, we need their example. And church is where the good examples are. So I go. I go to understand others better. I go to understand me better. I go to try to understand God better. I go to be reminded. I go to be restored. I go because I was rescued and God expects me to tell his story. I go because I need them as much as I need Him. Where he is a perfect and complete Father, we are a broken, messy, and stumbling family but we are trying. Trying to follow. Trying to love. Trying to survive. We don’t have all the answers. We’re just trying to follow the one who does.
I encourage you to find a group of people trying to love their neighbors and their God more. Yes, we have problems but we’re trying. Get involved with others who are. He and they will change your life.
And the next time someone asks, that’s why church.