Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What Do I Value in Church Attendance?

I haven't been to church in four weeks, which is probably my longest church-drought for over twenty years.

My absence from church wasn't planned. The first two Sundays, we were on vacation out of town. The third Sunday, I had an unbreakble work commitment. Last Sunday, Ron, Kevin and Andrea played a special, celebratory round of golf, and I was home alone. I opted to drink coffee and savor the sacred silence.

We'll be back in the pews this Sunday. That was never in question.

What is in question is how I feel, separated from church for a month. The answer? I feel just fine, thank you. But there is something I miss...

I don't feel guilty, of course, as I know God loves me, and is present with me wherever I may wander. And I know that God doesn't keep a scorecard on my church attendance.

I don't miss the soaring music, as I have many dozens of praise songs here on my handy laptop.

I don't miss the sermons, even though the sermons at our church are heartfelt, meaningful and attention-holding. I've heard sermons for over forty years. In truth, I've likely reached my lifetime mandatory minimum number of sermons, if there is such a quota.

I don't miss sprucing up on Sunday mornings, when I could be home, sans makeup and wearing my comfiest clothes.

I don't miss being asked to donate time and treasure to this or that or something else. I don't mind helping out, and do so with a cheerful heart, happy to do my part. But I don't need to go to church to find opportunities to give. The world is full of need and hurt.

What I miss are the smiles and hugs of friends, and mine for them. I miss catching up with others. I miss being greeted by pastors who know my name. I miss being part of Christian community... worshipping, singing, clapping, laughing, mourning, talking, celebrating, sipping coffee together.

We're not lonely people. We have a few very close friends, and we have plenty of family. We're blessed with friendly neighbors, and have plenty of work compadres.

But there's something special... something spiritually uplifting... about being together with others in Christ. And being bound together with our Christian family in common causes.

Sometimes, it's good to realize once again what we value in church attendance.

Can't wait to get back this Sunday...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vacation Day Spent Well

We spent most of the day resting our spirits and minds by watching Rocky Mountain clouds float across a blue topaz sky, and dangling our feet in the icy cold river...

(Photo by Deborah White)

Rocky Mountain Moments

Today, Ron and I have the rare gift of an unplanned, unprogrammed, unwired, un-cell phoned, childless, parentless (my 80 year old mom and dad live nearby) day together amid this lovely Rocky Mountain scenery outside our front door.

As I write this early morning missive, I'm soothed by the babble of the Fall River. Ron is asleep in our tiny condo's comfy down bed. The scent of fresh coffee fills the cold air.

We plan a light, leisurely breakfast followed by a stroll along the river. Later, we may venture into the charming shops in town. Tonight, we'll cuddle and enjoy... uninterrupted (!)... a movie in, as we did last night.

I plan to take photos and to press this day forever into my memory. But I think the real enjoyment is in the doing and feeling, not the remembering.

Life is fleeting, and Ron has struggled with hs health these past few years. He still struggles, and more tests lie ahead when we return home next week.

God never promises tomorrow to anyone. But today will be glorious and golden...