Several years ago I attended a small town church. I am not 100% sure of the denomination .. I think it was a United Church of Christ. The pastor was the former school football coach who went to seminary at the prompting of the church members. On Sunday mornings he would say, from the pulpit, "Jim, the Chiefs are on at noon. At 11:15, stop me." And Jim would. Because we needed lunch before we watched the game. I don't remember there being very many programs at the church. In fact, there wasn't even a Sunday morning nursery. All children went to service with their parents. The ones with small children sat in the back section with tote bags full of things to keep them busy. The worship music consisted of hymns sung, accompanied by a piano. There weren't any rituals. The sermons weren't heavy-hitting. Instead, I remember them being very uplifting and spurring me to want to do things for other people. The main emphasis of the church was to worship God and love the people. Nothing more, nothing less.
I miss that.
Yesterday Rick took the kids to church and I stayed home. I just can't go. I just can't. I needed some time alone and he recognized that. Besides, the little guys love to go to church.
But I thought about lots of things while they were gone. For the better part of 10 years or more, I have felt inferior in the body of Christ. I feel like I have been in a whirlwind of being told how much more I need to be doing! It's never enough! I need to serve more, give more, attend more, evangelize more, fellowship more, pray more, read the Bible more, do more Bible studies. I don't have any more.
And it's not that I don't believe we should do these things. I just believe that we should do them out of an extension of love, not guilt and/or condemnation. I've walked around for many, many years feeling guilty and inferior! And I just can't believe that the God I serve wants His people, His church, to do it all out of guilt and condemnation. I know He wants us to do all we do out of love, not out of a sermon.
When I feel inferior, I retreat. I completely distance myself from anybody or anything that, intentionally or not, imposes its superiority over me. Instead of feeling challenged, I feel defeated.
I seek the simplicity of the church I once so joyfully attended. I pray that it's out there for me.
You will start to see a thread in my posts. If you want to know what it is that I want ... I want a simple life. I want less, not more. I want it to be enough to just love God and His people. The thought of that life provides me with such peace.