Sunday, April 03, 2011

One Really Big Church

I am loving that this blog is inviting spiritually-based conversation from all over North America. (Comments have been on my facebook page, from San Diego, Orange County, Colorado and Toronto, so far.) It reminds me that church is not just a building--there is a universal church, one that unites all of God's people. My friends are helping me through this spiritual journey, even from afar.

First, I have to say that I do know that our God is a loving God. I know he will not seek revenge, especially not for a measly broken Lenten promise.

One dear friend pointed out that my "Lenten promise is one way to show God [I] love him. But if [I] choose to bag it - [I] will find another way. And God loves [me] the same, no matter what [I] do--Grace by Faith and all that good stuff..."

I definitely have faith in God. And I have faith in God being a loving God--"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." (John 3:16)

That gift brought us past that Old Testament God from whom people feared revenge to a God of love and grace--the free gift of love from God.

We don't have to work for it.

That said, being reminded that my Lenten promise is a way for me to show God that I love him renews my desire to fulfill that promise.

How hard really, will it be to abstain from drinking for about 20 more days? So I don't drink during girls night or a celebration dinner or happy hour or moving. Big deal--I'll have God's love to strengthen me in my resolve, right?

Because after all, when someone does something that shows you how much they love you, aren't you inspired to return the display of affection?

Easter is coming. Resurrection Sunday. The day Christ rises from the grave, proving once and for all that He is our God, and that He loves us.

This isn't Christmas for little kids--in and around a month before it happens, hoping that good behavior will earn them the gifts they so richly desire.

This is Easter. This is God's love. This is a free gift of love. This is for everyone.

So, my really big church, thanks for being God's little messengers, reminding me that Jesus loves me and that there is no way I could possibly earn that amazing love.

In other news, kind of related, Ella and I went to church today. Justin and I found a wonderful Lutheran Church just about 15 minutes from where we are going to live, called Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. He's working today, and I woke up early and inspired, so I got the little girl ready and we were off in time (almost) for a 10:30 service.

It was awesome.

I love the Lutheran liturgy, which includes corporate confession and forgiveness, hymns, readings, prayers, sermon, offering, and Communion.

I haven't been bothering going to church alone with Ella because I hadn't thought I could get much out of it with her squirming in my lap the whole time (it's right during her nap time). But she was a little doll, and I was able to enjoy the hymns (and even sing along) and Communion. She didn't even bat at the tiny wine glass (those little plastic glasses... not my favorite way to commune (I prefer the community of intinction in the shared chalice), but acceptable).

University Lutheran Church friends, you'll appreciate this--they are doing Holden Evening Prayer for Wednesday evening Lent services! There are only two Wednesday's in Lent left, and both conflict with Justin's work schedule, and I'm not sure I'm ambitious enough to drive in traffic to take her somewhere at her bedtime, but... who knows. Wednesday night might find us in Long Beach at church.

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