Saturday, August 11, 2012

Familiarity and Comfort

This last week, I attended a church I had briefly attended when we first moved here, that is very close to our home.  I'll get into my reasons for not making it my church home (yet?) a little later, but there are many positives about the church, too.

Lifeway Fellowship is a non-denominational church with both classic and contemporary services.  Even the contemporary service included songs like "Amazing Grace" and the song my church in Tucson played for every invitation, "I Have Decided".  The congregation is a mix of older and younger families, and Pastor Jimmy Towers was celebrating 14 years of service that very Sunday.

People knew each other, visiting before the service and briefly during the meet-and-greet moments.  Visitors were asked to remain seated during the meet, so that we could be greeted by others.  I received a little folder with information about the church and a visitors' card.  I was asked to place the card in an urn that was at the back of the church, used for the Offering.

The message this Sunday was based on Genesis 25:1-3, according to the notes.  Even the  pastor said that if we read that verse, we would wonder how he came up with a sermon based on that reading.  There was a lot to the sermon, though I'm also not sure where he got it in that verse, but the part that stuck with me was that we need to return to the time when we first believed.  Whether we were children, meeting with a Sunday School teacher or talking with a parent, or adults and finding hope, the pastor wanted us to remember that time and that moment.  If we could go there physically, he suggested we try to do that, but more importantly he wanted us to remember God's protection and His presence.  Genesis 28:15 was the verse I wrote down and that gave me great comfort.

Each church I've attended has had some comment, some place, about it "not being an accident" that we were in that church on that day.  I'm beginning to sense a theme.  After this Sunday, I am also figuring out what I'm looking for in a church, and why I have been so restless since we moved here. Part of what I am seeking is a place where people will recognize my face, and greet me, and even ask me to sit with them. Even when I've visited a church multiple times in the past, and had friends attending the same church, I haven't usually felt like the church remembers me. I haven't felt like I belonged.  I don't think the issue lies with the churches I've attended, necessarily-- I can only speak to the end result. The congregation of this church knows each other, likes each other, remembers each other, and in that sense of community it has found strength.

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