It was a strange but wonderful experience to go to a different church this morning. I had a failed attempt last night at trying to find someone to go with me to a new church this morning, so I got up and made the trek anyway. I am glad I did.
Until today, I forgot that I used to only ever go to church by myself. It was not until I reached seminary that I ever had a consistent group of folks to worship with. Even when I worshiped in the same congregations (plural, as I was a part of several, depending on the day of the week!), there was not enough consistency in attendance of others for me to have accountability.
Today I went to a new church by myself. I sat by myself in worship. I was anonymous and had no responsibility. I was there only because I wanted to be, and I was there to be led and fed rather than to lead. It was amazing and beautiful and wonderful. It was a great reminder of the path I have taken to bring me to here today. I do not go to church because it is a job or even because it is a responsibility. I go to the church as a response to a call I have to lead people in this way.
Church feels very different when you are leading it or when others have expectations of you. I am thankful for the opportunity to worship in a new congregation this morning that feels very "normal" (meaning not as exciting and as unique as Holy Covenant, but I am not convinced that is a bad thing). I am thankful for the affirmation of why I go to church, and how much I love being a part of such communities. I am also thankful for the things I took notice of during worship this morning, and how those notes reflect how very much I have learned this year, both in the classroom and in the church. Thanks be to God.