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Sitting in church this morning, waiting for service to begin, my husband turned to me and whispered in a searching sort of way, “You look sad.”
“Do I?” His statement gave me pause to examine my own thoughts. “I’m not sad. Just empty, I think. Needing to be filled.”
That’s how it is with me and church. Again and again I go, like countless others the world over.
Sometimes, I admit, I go reluctantly. At the end of one busy week and the beginning of another it can be tempting to claim those Sunday morning hours for other priorities. It can feel – at times – like a frivolous luxury to submit time to the practice of “being still and knowing.”
But it’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
I remember clearly a conversation I had decades ago with a cameraman named Ray. We were colleagues, travelling together to a shoot somewhere, and as we drove, he asked me about God. When I told him what my faith meant to me, he responded that he thought all faith “a crutch,” and he neither needed nor wanted a crutch in his life.
I felt ashamed then. Somehow his statement seemed more like an accusation, like something I should have a good answer for. I didn’t.
But if I were to meet Ray today, I’d tell him this: my faith is a crutch. It’s a crutch I need to lean on every single day. I wouldn’t want to go through life without it.
And that’s what keeps me going back to church. For often, in the quiet moments before the service starts – or within the first few minutes of worshipping – I’m struck by an awareness of my great need. My need for God, for His help or comfort, His strength or peace or presence, for boldness or love, for forgiveness or guidance or courage or wisdom. It’s like a hunger that’s crying out to be fed, an emptiness longing to be filled.
So it was this morning. And as the service progressed, and I focussed my mind on worship, the hunger pangs subsided and my spirit felt renewed.
After service, I visited with a couple of other people in our little church family only to learn of battles that they are fighting in their day-to-day lives. And I realized I’m in good company on Sunday mornings, for I’m not alone in my need.
In fact the entire global Church is probably composed primarily of spiritually hungry people who recognize their great need to be filled with God’s grace and mercy and strength. Over and over again.
“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’”
- Mark 2:17
It’s been a season of intense busyness and I admit I’ve found the past few months both emotionally and spiritually challenging. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 50 years on the planet, it’s that it’s often the most significant challenges in life that lead to the greatest growth in character – and to new depths of understanding of the goodness of God.
That’s certainly been true for me in recent weeks.
But in the midst of the challenges, there have still been delights. One of the most delightful: my eldest daughter Stephanie has given me yet one more reason to feel proud of her. She’s begun a blog with a friend – called Cooking With Tea – that combines some of her favourite interests: her love of good food, exotic teas and whimsical words.
Stop by, pay them a visit, then consider liking Cooking With Tea on Facebook! You’ll gain access to wonderful original new recipes, illustrated with beautiful photographs, and have a place to interact with and encourage a brand new Canadian blogger!