By Sasha Katz
I’ve been thinking about what my church means to me. In the believer’s life, meeting together in the presence of God matters. The happenings that take place, together, in His house, form our faith, cleanse and wash us. We are encouraged in the place called church. Whether love and good deeds are poured out on to you in His house or whether you are drawn to act yourself, this is the place where we are genuinely motivated to do God’s work. This is the ideal description of church and truly defines, for me, my church experience.
If I could add to the definition of church, I would include the word refuge. I think about my dad dying and how impossible it initially felt to grieve in the midst of my regular schedule. For weeks, there were only two places I could cry – – as I lay in bed at night or during Pastor Clay’s worship on Sunday morning. Only two places. I needed the church to be my grieving place and it was there for me.
I also think about the early days of my marriage and the downright spiritual attack I was beat up under by some of our extended family. If you’ve ever felt you may not be able to fully hold on to yourself, that was me. At my worst times, I sat in church holding onto my arms debating with myself if I could keep soundness of mind. Time after time, He built me up in His house. His strength empowered me to grow up in Him. It is occurring to me right now that if I hadn’t chosen Him as my pillar of strength at that time, I would not be the woman I am now.
Another time in my life, I did not want to give up my dream to be a stay at home mom. Through a turn of events, God allowed for me to be a full time working mom. There was only one place that I was able to entrust the daily care of my kids – – that is my church. I remember feeling like the church was an umbrella that I could remain safely under while the storms and showers of life come down.
I hope you catch my sentiment for the church. I hope you catch the meaning for me and, I desperately hope for all of us, that we can hitch our lives upon a Rock. But, because we are human, God’s wonderfully perfect institutions, including the church, suffer sometimes. Mostly, or only, because of us. What has prompted me to think about what my church means to me comes by means of a self check. Just a few months ago, our pastor resigned as a result of multiple affairs and numerous acts of sexual immorality (via pornography). As the dust settles, there currently exists for me a sadness. The subtle sadness is kind of like an envelope wrapped around a letter that holds really good news. You’d like to open and throw away that envelope once and for all, so you can go on sharing the good news . . . but that darn envelope.
The upside of my self check is that I am glad to know that my love for my church was not wrapped around my former pastor. It wasn’t wrapped around the popularity of his person or sermons. God made Himself self-evident through the pulpit. I am thankful that God is God. I don’t feel lost under the loss because of that.
Self check yourself. Wherever you meet with other believers under the umbrella of God, check your heart. Why do you love His house? Is it because your faith is built? Are you washed by the word? Are you encouraged to love and do good deeds? What is your definition of church? We are all prompted in times of change to check our self, but I think it’s better to check ourselves in the normal course of life. What human heart could not use a check anyway?