When I go to church on Sunday morning, I think I don’t have impossible expectations. But it would be nice if everyone could be there on time. And please don’t expect me to chat with you while we’re singing because I don’t like being disturbed from focusing on the song and leader.
Would it be so much to ask to have the window cracked, so I could breath? Would it really be the death of anyone to have a light breeze in the room? It’s hard for me to concentrate on the speaker while I’m breathing fumes of fried onions and bad personal hygiene. I try sucking mints and holding my hand to my nose so as to smell the (nice) (Irish) lotion I used, but I still feel nauseated and need huge self-control to keep from bolting out the door.
When we’re drinking tea together afterwards, I want to have meaningful conversations, not negativity or complaining or arguing. I like to argue, but not after church. Let’s please try to take a day off from our vices.
We work hard to clean the place every Sat. and in several hours on Sun. the floor has clouds of dirt scattered around, sugary tea is splashed down the steps, empty water cups stand around, song books and chairs are anywhere and everywhere. It would be nice if someone else would care about keeping the place clean instead of just using it and leaving.
I could stay at home on Sunday mornings and be more comfortable on most every level. I could talk to God; He could talk to me. I could sing alone. I could even listen to a sermon. There could be worship and communication and encouragement.
But there wouldn’t be community.
I’m finding that when I leave seclusion and walk into a messy, unpredictable universe full of personalities and bodies, there are a lot of aspects that prickle, disturb, irritate me. But I would also miss out on way too many things that make my life richer.
So yesterday, I could hardly breathe during the service for the smell and the stuffy air. But there were wise words spoken, sad news shared, tears, hugs, and songs. There was care and love poured out, worship and surrender. Glints of beauty sparkled around us–beauty that I’m not willing to do without.
There’s a woman who searches me out every Sunday to kiss me and ask how I am, because she knows that I’m not always ok, and sometimes we’ve cried together, mingled tears on cheeks. There’s another who tells me about her week, and says she has stories to tell me when we’ll meet later in the day. There are creative little people in Sunday school who chatter happily to me and draw pictures as easily as they breathe.
Community means give and take. Not liking some things, but welcoming other things. It means color and texture (did I mention smells?) and depth that is impossible to find anywhere except together. I like it that way.