Church People as...Family?
So, everyone knows that church people freak me out. They freak me out because they do and say weird things-things that aren't what I am typically around and things that do not make sense to me. They freak me out because while I am still coming to grips with the love my Father has for me, I don't know about his followers yet. They could boot me out in a second for my flat out refusal to assimilate. And I do consider that an option. Sometimes a desirable one.
But I also have great love and admiration for church people & for things that I associate with them.
I love that they expect more. Sure, they don't always seem to expect more of themselves, tho some do, they do expect that there IS more. There is more of God to come. There is more of His kingdom to come. There is more in you. There is more to learn. There is more to grow. I love that the end isn't the end. In a world that seems to batter us each week, it is good to meet for a couple hours and remind ourselves of this.
I love that you are kind of expected to sing, but not expected to sing well. I do like to sing. Ask my poor husband as we drive and he just wants to consider the latest stats on his fantasy football league and I am belting out some tune on the radio. And you can ask him if he turns up the volume because he enjoys that song so much or because he needs to turn down his wife. Yes, I have no illusion about my singing ability, but I love the rhythm. It helps me memorize. It brings me to prayer. And church people are down with inviting those who can't carry a tune in a bucket to sing joyfully with them.
I love that they have fun. It is a different fun than I probably ever experienced and certainly not since I was 10. I mean, who has an all house hide and seek for the whole family and all the dinner guests??? When was the last time that a group of adults you know got excited about orange cream floats? I know more games as an adult than I did as a child. And I love it! I love being able to play, tho I am still my intense self. Especially with spoons so watch out!
I love that they see value in others. My church friends are an odd lot. While my "normal" friends might feel bad for a person in a sad situation, my church friends look for ways that the person can contribute and be a part of. Now, sometimes this is scary. Take "Special Music" for example. I have never been in a church where the "Special Music" was good, but the church people clap politely for the courage to get up on stage. My peeps would not be so gracious. I am not that gracious.
I love what I have learned, and I have learned the most through relationships. One relationship taught me to temper my truth with her grace. Another has challenged my understanding of myself and God, spurring on spiritual growth. One has given me opportunities to watch a family working as it should, providing glimpses at how God relates to us. Still others have given me confidence to practice what I know, to step out of my past and choose the redemption offered as I dream. I love these church people who have chosen to love me enough to bring me into their lives, even if they are clapping politely.
My church people...my family...I cannot really see them any other way. I have distant "relatives" that I keep in contact with on Facebook, some that I met on FB realizing later that we were "related." Those of us who were baptized on Jan 6th together check in for our anniversary like some spiritual quintuplets. I have crazy uncles and prissy aunts. I have cousins that I plot with. I have grandpas and grandmothers. They are my family in many ways. One of my favorite things to do, and yes, I already know that I am weird, is to greet people as we approach the communion table...to really see them. And then I imagine that day when we will share a meal in eternity with our Jesus.
Yes, those church people scare me still. I want to fit in. I want to contribute. I want to retain who I am. I want who I am to be valued. At the same time, who I am isn't as important or precious as who WE are! And, yes, we are family.