I believe in church, even when it is messy and hurtful. It has often been a sanctuary for me, although I'm not unaware of the pain it can also cause. I trust that we gain more in seeking together in community than we do individually. I believe that there is room for the "spiritual but not religious" and "the religious and spiritual" to coexist and learn from one another. Religion (and church as the institution that makes space for it in my traditon) gives us a foundation for exploring and practicing spirituality together. Spirituality brings us into the mystery of the divine, a sense of awe and wonder greater than we ordinarily find in ourselves. I have found that beauty in church and I hope to find it again.
But sometimes, my soul longs for Sabbath, for rest and re-creation. Sometimes this introvert needs to hide away to rediscover my soul, and to rebuild community with the ones that share the most central places in my heart. Sometimes I find God when I stop pushing so hard, when I stop seeking in the same expected places and am surprised to learn that I have been standing on holy ground all along. I was looking for burning bushes when instead God is in the messy pile of drawings and half-eaten bowls of cereal on the table. When I can't hear the still small voice, God is in the laughter and arguments of my children.
Sometimes it takes a change of plans to awaken me to the holy ordinary of my life. On these days, Sunday morning church looks like this:
"Surely the LORD is in the place and I did not know it!"