I have gone to church my whole life. Even in college when no one was “making” me. It has been something that I have always done; sometimes out of obligation, other times out of need but mostly because of the joy it gives me. There is something so sacred about joining with others in worship and prayer. And the connections run deep. Very deep. There is nothing like the love of church family.
I witnessed it during a long period of health problems in my father. As an active farmer at the time of his stroke, he had many duties and responsibilities with livestock and crops that could not go unattended. His church family was truly a life saver in that many people stepped in and assumed responsibilities and did undesirable jobs to continue the running of the farm. And when it was discovered that he would never be able to farm again, they were there dismantling equipment and a farrowing house (which was a really yucky job). They drained lagoons, and got things ready for auctions. They were there with all their combines and grain wagons when it was time for harvest. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. A group of men linked together by God’s love literally being Jesus’ hands.
I have experienced the love of church family in my own life. When I got a phone call late at night from my mother 12 hours away and friends and family are quick to step in to take care of my children and church responsibilities. The love of friends sending care packages as I travel. The love of friends at church gathering around me in prayer when I got the call from my mother with the test results and her telling me it is cancer.
I was gone from my church for weeks at a time due to my parents health and I found myself missing it. I missed the fellowship, I missed the community, I missed being part of something that was bigger than myself. And when I returned, I was inundated with questions of how my family was. Because they cared about me.
It is for that same reason that I bake bread or make a meal for someone that just had a baby, or surgery or had a death in the family. Because there is joy in the giving; a blessing to share God’s love with others. And I share it not just with my church family but for my neighbors and friends regardless of their beliefs. Because it is not just about church, but also about sharing God’s love with whoever needs it. And really, we all need it.
I encourage you, if you are not part of a church, please find one. The denomination or the sign on the front door doesn’t matter as much as the part that you are part of something that you were created to be a part of. God designed us to gather together in worship; to be part of something that is a unified community. To be part of something greater than ourselves. Where one can gather together with others of like mind, like purpose and a common love for our God. See for yourself, there is something better when we are all together.