Church: Healing or Harmful?

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So I went to church on Sunday.

It was my first time back in 3 weeks, because I was home for spring break and as such, attended my old church with my family.

I didn’t take communion there the first week.

I don’t know what happened but normally I’m able to work through my feelings about the male hierarchy stuff there and enjoy, but I just couldn’t that week. It was like the songs were hard enough to get through, the Communion table had so many parameters (am I still welcomed even though I’m a questioning-doubting-sometimes-Christian? I wasn’t sure), and it all felt wrong.

So I peed instead.

The last week was better. And I did fine. I enjoy the teaching and music normally, it’s just hard to accept the traditional setting and atmosphere.

So back at the church that I actually choose and enjoy attending. I got teared up at least five times, simply because I was overwhelmed with what I felt when I was there. I talked to Steve who shared with me how long he’d been attending (13 years!) and how he visited a number of churches before, but he believes this one is special. He says it’s special because this place and these people are open to different ideas that are more broad and more inclusive of all people. I said “STEVE YES! YES YES! This is a special place you are so right.” You can just feel it.

Reverend Lisa talked about how the church and Jesus’ followers are and were a group of misfits. Which means we all fit. And it means all the people who “don’t fit” in regular society are the ones Jesus wants. And the ones we’re meant to do life with.

I sat there and the voices and the music, the light and the people, the wholeness of it washed over me.

And it was like my soul, my heart, my spirit healed a teeny tiny bit. It was like the pieces of my thoughts, doubts, and beliefs that were sharp and poking me and causing me great discomfort finally just stopped. And a little part of my soul and spirit mended. It sounds dramatic. But that’s what it felt like.

I got a picture of some of the pieces of myself fitting back together. And I got a picture of my very self, being loosely sewn back together.

I left a little more healed and a little more whole.

It’s amazing that church can be the place where you are harmed the most and hurt the most.

And yet, it can also be the place you are healed and tended to and mended too.
Thank you thank you that this is a place for me. I literally don’t know who I’d be without this place. Yay for healing and inclusion and focus on the marginalized, the outcast, the oppressed. Yay for a focus on love and companionship and walking with everyone through life.

Rev. Lisa’s benediction at the end also made me cry. It was about God going before us and over us and underneath us knowing and reminding us that we are loved more than we can even begin to grasp.

So to all my fellow nomads and wanderers. Misfits and doubters. Skeptics and critics.

I am you. If it wasn’t for this very special place, I wouldn’t be in church at all, and that’s ok. But I hope that someday, each of us will find a place, any place it doesn’t have to be church, where we find love and inclusion, peace and connection, acceptance and joy.

Where healing and wholeness touch you.

Amen.

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