Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Three Churches

Note:  This is a repeat and edited post from several years that really touches my own heart.  Maybe it will touch yours too.

It's true.  I have three churches. 

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 Many people have one church.  Their lives may even center around that church and what it offers them.  Other people have  no church.  There are many un-churched among us....for a whole lot of different reasons.  Me?  I have, at various times in my life, been in both of those categories.  Now I am at the other end of the spectrum and I really do have three churches.

One of my churches is the one I attended today.  It is really my mother's church...a very traditional mainline denomination.  It's Methodist; not the actual church of my childhood but the denomination of my childhood.  Since Mother is unable to get there under her own steam, and since it's vital that she see her friends and stay connected to her "heart place", I take her a couple times a month.  You know, honestly, I wasn't crazy about this idea at first.  I did it anyway, and must admit, over this year, I have come to feel that Fayetteville First United Methodist is indeed 'my church'.  I know the faces, I am at home there. They have a good message.  The Methodist Church is in my DNA and I am grateful for that.

Then there is my second church, my neighborhood church, my convenient church, the one close to my house where I, and occasionally my husband, go when we can.  We like being a part of where we live, knowing the flavor of the community, being a part of  outreach right here...rather than in Africa or Bangladesh.  This church gives us a backpack to fill for a child when school starts, and packs the altar with thick, new, wool blankets and socks in the winter for anyone  living on the streets on cold nights...and feeds the hungry in the big person.

My third church is, well, the church where I grew new spiritual legs.  It's the nontraditional church, too far to drive every Sunday, where I stretched to learn new things, where I am inspired, where I grow and expand.  The church where I really learned about unconditional love and forgiveness, about our Oneness with God, where I learned to trust the process and surrender to the God of my understanding, to see the gift, always.  

It's all good.  I love all my churches. They all contribute to who I am.  They all inspire me to be better.  I really hope God doesn't see fit to put a 4th church in my path.....I mean really.