I hear the church bells daily as I start my day in the morning along with the mid-day chimes. It is a constant comfort as it soothes my mind for that moment in time. The music selected are classic pieces that not everyone today actually knows. I stop what I’m doing to enjoy its sweet melodies of worship, sometimes singing the words or humming along.
Worship gathering has changed drastically over time causing me to wonder why. I’ve been on a soul searching mission to find a church home that fills a void in my heart, yet everywhere I turn, there are changes taking place that leave me asking “God what has happened to your church?”
I grew up Methodist where at age 14 I made the decision to be committed to my walk with Christ, then as a teen we moved to the Baptist faith. Regardless of the change, I was grounded in what I believed. I saw hypocrisy at an early age wondering why we go through the motions if we can’t take the lessons we learn and speak of in our classes home to where we can ponder and meditate upon, allowing us to change.
Life was an interesting challenge growing up, to where I left home at 17 and decided that if organized “religion” was so pretentious then why would I participate. Leaving home and not attending church did not stop me from believing in the truth of who our Lord and Savior was. I certainly made some mistakes as I traveled on my own, but life is full of mistakes that allow us to grow.
Having children drew me back to the church, with a desire to give our children a strong foundation of faith, that they each grew from. Our children are now grown, have made sound decisions based on what they have learned. This includes the hypocrisy they experienced as well as through the actions of others. No matter what in life, the church is made up of people, who don’t always make the right decisions which can result in hurting others, causing them to not trust them. Sometimes it’s based on judgment, yet there are times when it is based on love.
I have attended a variety of churches from Methodist, Baptist, Congregational, Catholic, and Evangelical. As we try to find a church in today’s culture, it is difficult to find one that we can call “home”. We’ve been hurt by Christians that have created living scars, that for me are similar to the thorn in Paul’s side that he speaks of in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 12. Despite our prayer to understand, God doesn’t take the scars away, because His grace is all sufficient. His desire is for us to grow spiritually as we attempt to make decisions that will reflect His will for us.
We have still yet to find a church “home”, not because we have not met beautiful Christian believers, but mostly because worship has changed drastically over time. The traditions I grew up with have all slowly faded away as new churches keep forming. Translations of scripture continue to change to meet and conform to the need to understand. I find peace when I enter a Catholic church, although I never grew up Catholic nor able to participate in their communion. The rituals are constant and the cross is the central focal point of their place of worship.
I miss seeing the cross when I enter todays’ modern churches. I feel as though there is something missing, someone we forgot to invite. The cross is a reminder of the gift that God provided, through the birth of Jesus to his dying on the cross. Jesus set an example of how we are to live our lives, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, along with humility. The protestant churches who still display a cross do not have the form of Christ as it represents His resurrection where He left the cross to be in Heaven, where the Catholics leave it on as a reminder of what He has done for us. Is either wrong? Personally I don’t think so. In the end, I believe that Gods desires are that we all become one church, united in our faith.
So, although we might not have a church “home” which is frowned upon by some of the leaders and parishioners of churches we’ve attended, we have a home in our heart for a God. Our faith is still strong where we still worship, pray and study. And despite what has been stated and questioned by a few, we are still Christians. Just because we are not sitting in a pew next to another believer, does not mean God has kicked us out of His heart.
I am so thankful for the church bells. A reminder of God’s calling to bring us closer to Him.