I love the stillness of private worship before corporate worship begins on Sundays. While visiting a church across town, I quietly sit in what is probably someone else’s pew, close my eyes and drink in the solitude and peace. My spirit is content, and I say a prayer.
“Thank you Lord for this church. The sermons are wonderful. The pastor is brilliant. I have yet to hear him say anything that I disagree with. I know he must truly be a righteous man. The music is uplifting and scriptural. The people are so warm friendly. No one has said or done anything mean or hateful. I haven’t lost my temper, got into an argument or let anyone down. No one gossips. This church is perfect Lord. But… we haven’t joined yet, and I know as soon as we do, that will all change… “
It doesn’t take long for baggage to accumulate. A look here, a snide remark there. Misunderstandings, unmet expectations, hurt feelings, gossip, lost tempers. There are all kinds of issues that can get in the way of worship if I let them. Geographical cures, while nice for a while, are not sustainable solutions.
The solution isn’t perfection, constantly moving, or avoiding all entanglements. The only real solution to baggage free worship, is Christ.
I really like visiting other churches. I especially like visiting churches that are nothing like my own. What I don’t like is when God has the audacity to speak to my heart in the middle of a service and tell me “You like it here because there isn’t any baggage.” Not to sound disrespectful to God or anything like that, but I was really annoyed that he would interrupt my denial and worship with truth that day.
I don’t suggest arguing with God while sitting in church. It might look funny. Nor do I suggest accusing his voice to be that of Satan. Communion doesn’t quiet go down right on those days. Who knew you could get indigestion from a little wine and bread.
The pastor asked me TWICE if I was okay as we were leaving. I’m not sure if I looked white as a ghost or what.. No I was not okay, I wanted God to agree with me and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. And how did he know I wasn’t okay?
Sin exists in and out of the church. We are all sinful and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn’t matter if it’s a church or a relationship of some kind. Sooner or later, we will let each other down. There will be misunderstandings, differing opinions, anger, and hurt feelings. There will be opportunties as well for reconciliation, repentance, and forgiveness — IF I don’t run away every time I get my feelings hurt, or hurt someone else’s.
I can carry that baggage with me into church via resentments, or even shame and guilt. OR I can lay those things down in my confession, be fed and strengthened by the body and blood of Christ, allow the sermon to renew my mind and leave behind that which weighs heavily on my heart.
This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. –We aren’t changing churches, by the way. My husband and I are very active in our home church and committed to our church’s mission plant. We do however like to change things up and really do enjoy worshipping across town at another church as well. It’s a high liturgy service and we think it’s beautiful.