So, our son went to church camp. I might sound like a broken record by now, but this was a BIG deal! It was a week my husband and I have been excited about since the moment we left camp, got married, and started our life together. It has now come and gone – and it was better than I could have imagined!
We dropped him off last Sunday, clean clothes packed neatly in a green tub. We picked him up on Friday, that same green tub stuffed full with wet, dirty clothes. I thought it all would be more emotional! I assumed I would put up a good front, but in my own private moments there would be tears… lots and lots of tears! But from watching his excitement at drop off, through seeing shared pictures during the week with a smile that showed pure joy, until our happy reunion on Friday, I was never sad. My heart just felt so completely full!
Since we picked him up, he has been full of stories – stories about swimming, hiking, games, songs, s’mores and silly counselors. We had to dig a bit deeper to learn about worship and bible study. Over the years, I’ve asked kids what their favorite part of camp is. They always say “swimming” or “riding horses.” And I wonder – what about worship and bible study?!? But seriously – how many 8-year-olds will tell you that their favorite part of a day spent outside at camp is bible study?!
Here’s the secret… Conversation about God, prayer, digging into scripture, worship – this is all happening right with the crazy, loud activities throughout the camp day! God – trust in God’s control and our ability to see how God is at work – happens within and throughout life, not only during that separate one-hour bible study during camp, and not only when we attend that one-hour church service each Sunday morning.
Awareness of this might at times diminish the value we see in that one-hour church service. It is my insanely busy week at work right now – that week which comes around every 3 months. I worked several hours early this morning. As I geared up to leave the office shortly before church began (still overwhelmed by the quantity of work left to do), I thought to myself: “I don’t want to go to church. Man, it would be really nice to take a nap or go get brunch!”
Then instantly – guilt! No matter how hectic life is and regardless of how I experience God moments throughout the week, I am always thankful when I end up at church on Sunday morning. I am thankful for connection with friends, thankful for moments to pause for prayer, song and meditation, thankful for time to listen to God. I am spiritually filled when I am present in worship.
But that quick, guilt-ridden thought reminded me that going to church should never feel like an obligation. If it does, you’re doing it wrong! We go to church to worship God, to be connected in a community of faith, to experience “spiritual inhalation” (to quote the Pastor from this morning’s service).
Seeking God daily is important. That one-hour church service on Sunday morning is important too! All day, every day, everywhere and in every life – God is working. God is light, God is love, God is hope!