i am writing this post on a sunday morning, though i won't post it until tuesday morning, as is my custom. as i thought about what i would (should) write, i began to think about the day to come. soon i will get up and begin breakfast preparations, first for the six animals in our household--four outside cats, one inside cat, and one dog--and then for the two humans. after clearing away the breakfast remains, we'll prepare to go to church.
then i thought, "why do we go to church most every sunday morning?" i no longer believe much of what is taught there, and i feel a certain dishonesty about my faithful attendance. yet, i need to belong to this collective that is our congregation. i need to be part of a larger group than my small household or even my extended family. i need the friendship of these lovely people that i see on sunday mornings, to know that if i fall ill, they will be concerned for my recovery, that if a loved one dies, they will be there to comfort me, that when i return after being away for awhile, they will rejoice that i am back. while i've moved away from many of the beliefs of my church, i still need, yearn for, the feeling of being part of something that connects me and them by something other than familial ties.
as in any group, there are those who need to control, cliques and individuals who want things to be done as they want them done. right now, there are some in our congregation agitating for the dissolution of our connections to the national body of which our congregation is a part, and this desire to pull away is difficult to watch. there are always those who cannot tolerate other points-of-view, who want to act as the inquisitors who enforce orthodoxy, and we have those among us. yet, on the whole, those who are my friends in our church are lovely people, folks who are there because they treasure our connections with one another and who are more concerned about showing compassion than about controlling the institutional apparatus.
as my beliefs have transformed and as i've watched our congregation taking official positions which i find painful and lacking in love, i've thought about severing my ties with the church. it may become necessary to do that if those who are most power-hungry get their way. the problem is that there is no other group in our community to turn to if i turn away from this group, none that can come close to satisfying my need to belong unless i'm willing to accept impossible terms.
as i sit here on this sunday morning, i look forward to seeing these friends again, to making music with them, to repeating familiar words with them, to greeting them and inquiring about the week gone by and their health. if this were gone, i would feel very sad on sunday mornings, and i think that sadness would carry over into the days that follow. i watch and wait, hoping for the best, preparing myself for what may come, enjoying these friendships as long as i can.
may each of us find a place to belong, a group filled with camaraderie and compassion. may we be true to ourselves and learn the futility of believing that we can control the lives of others or the events that are a part of our daily lives. may we seek truth and follow it wherever it leads us. shalom.