This weekend was consecration Sunday at our church. We actually attend two Methodist churches and visited both this weekend. Why? Because Sunday School was cancelled at one for an all church brunch and becuase I really enjoy the services on Saturday night. The sermon at both churches had to do with money and giving but today's sermon was also about much more. It was about what the church offers to us and why we go.
I admit that it would be easy and enjoyable to sit at home on a Sunday morning and just play legos with the kids. It would be nice to not put our Saturday afternoon and evening plans on hold and skip church. Yet I don't do that (very often). Why is that? What does church give to me that I hope to give to my children? Church is very important to my children's birth families but my reasons for taking them goes way beyond the promises I made to their first families. I made those promises knowing that I planned to insist they attend church and church school anyway. So why is it I insist my children attend religious services and activities? Here is my top 5 list for going to church with them (in no particular order).
5) A chance to see other families and children who view God and their relationship with God as important.
4) To see people living their faith out loud. Putting their words into action by volunteering in their communities, donating money to charities and church, being kind to their neighbors even when we don't agree with each other or really even like each other.
3) Learning respect for our differences. Now I realize that some churches are better at this than others and some members are better than others but as a church we really try to celebrate our differences. Open doors. Open Hearts. Open Minds. That is the slogan the United Methodist Church had a few years ago and one that we try to live out eery day.
2) Developing a stronger relationship with God. Yes, I can read the bible to my children and talk about God at home but there is something different about praying at church and hearing scripture with others.
1) To hear other people's opinions and interpretations of God's laws than my own. While I am sure I am right most of the time (or at least every once in awhile), we all grow when we listen and consider ideas that are different than our own.
5) To join other Christians on a journey of faith. This is important. No matter if the times are good or bad we all are on this journey together. Younger members of the church look to older members for mentors, leaders and wisdom. Older members learn from watching younger members experience life and faith in different ways than they did. Together we all become stronger as Christians and as a church.
So if you have never attended church or are looking for a new church to join, please join us. We may not always agree about the details of our religious beliefs but we will agree in the basics. That God loves each of us, wants the best for us and that together we can grow in faith and love.