I joined a church today. And not because I was the Pastor, or married to the Pastor. But because I chose to. It is the first time in my life that I have done so as an adult (or as a child attached to parents who made the choice) that was not attached to a vocation calling for either me or my spouse. And, yet, it is entirely that as well – our vocation as a family – that led us to the place we have inhabited on Sunday mornings since September. Each week, each email, each call or conversation I have thought to myself, “this could be home.” Simultaneously, we have as a family said, “these are our people.”
And we are not there each Sunday. We are the family I was often frustrated with when I was the Pastor – absent sometimes for 3 weeks in a row when Sunday School needed extra helpers and we as parents needed support and worship was sparse and we were part of the reason why. Our life as a family, with two more than full-time working parents and children who get sick at inconvenient times, and sometimes with so much else going on that a few hours of quiet removed from the world on Sunday morning is what we need more than air to breathe…that is my life. My reality, my joy, my angst, my waking dream – all in the same moment.
Still, though, it is Church that sustains and creates and moves and changes and molds me. It has been so since before I was in the world, I suspect, and certainly since that long ago moment in a Southern Baptist church in South Carolina that welcomed and blessed me into God’s family to enter the journey Jesus offers us, and walks beside us every step of the way. For Michelle and I both, taking this step today to say Yes in a very public way is a not-small thing that signifies a years-in-the-making-opening to so much that neither of us thought would ever come into being again.
I joined a church today. We joined a church today: a non-traditional (whatever that means) family with all kinds of scars and hopes and loves and sorrows and joys for the present and future that God is creating with us all the time. A church that reminds us, and lives, that Jesus joins us right here in the middle of the story and that Jesus allows our Alleluias to rest with him when necessary to remind us of the promise of Easter – as my two pastors spoke of so wisely today.
A blessed life it is, with Easter ever on the horizon. And resurrection happening sometimes even when the ashes are still lingering on our foreheads.