I've been away from church for probably over a year. The year was hard. I wasn't away from God necessarily, as I think about Him daily, but I was away from other people. Many things contributed to the absence. Honest questions, about myself and my faith, about the world, what is sin, what is good...hard things I couldn't necessarily answer. I couldn't endure being in a formula environment, as church sometimes feels like-we do this, then we do that, and we sing like this or that and we smile and nod during the sermon or look appropriately thoughtful. Nothing prepared me for the gut-wrench of the year, where I don't think I could smile or nod even if I wanted to. And I really didn't want to, so I'm a holy refugee.
But I feel like I have an invitation from the only Person who matters, and He needs me to come back. I have made a commitment to the one thing I believe comes directly from the Father, as all good and perfect gifts do, and that is my creativity. I work an 8-5 or thereabouts, so what precious little time I have outside the office is devoted to the arts and my family. And it isn't much. The pressure of endless Sunday morning music, "fellowship" and sermo-gasms, is too much for me. I need baby food again and the quiet of the post sickroom. Too much excitement and noise doesn't suit me on the best of days, and certainly not now. I'm not trying to be irreverent. In fact the opposite. I need to behold the One person in my life who holds out the invitation. Anyone who ever looked at the Man from Galilee with expectation was not disappointed. But the fear of trying to make it through the crowds when you feel like a spiritual leper is tough. I know I'm accepted, but I still have to get in the car and drive to a place I've never been to go into the most personal of times with strangers. Maybe it is better. There is a Rescue Mission that has a 6pm Saturday service. That is where I'm going. Seems appropriate.