So, last week I was sick. I made it through work, but took a hiatus from the gym.
I was nervous about returning after being gone for a week. I was even practicing telling people that I was sick, which was true. I guess I felt guilty about being away from my workout community. I realized as I've been back twice now this week, that the reason for my absence didn't really matter. People were just happy to see me.
I wonder if that's how it is with church, too. When we've been away a while, even with a myriad of different reasons why, we tend to get nervous upon our return. We may practice what we will say, especially if we see church people outside of church like at the grocery store or the bank.
Truth is, I think I felt guilt because I missed being at the gym and I know that a regular workout routine is good for me (mind, body and spirit).
Truth is, maybe we feel guild when we're away from church because we miss it, too. Maybe we know that reconnecting with our family of faith, sharing in a meal (of bread and wine) and praying together is something that is good for us.
Because of a trip to see family in New England, I was away from Trinity this past weekend.
I reconnected with many folks at our ABO Luncheon on Monday. Someone said, "It just wasn't church without you." My knee jerk reaction to that was...but it's not about me. Church is still church, even if one of your pastors isn't there.
But then I thought about it some more.
In a way it is about me (and you). It's about all of us who make up the body of Christ. It may not feel like church when fellow sisters and brothers are not there to meet and greet us, to share the peace and to share in the Lord's Supper together. It may not feel the same, but it is still church. And who we are, as members of the Body of Christ, is to be the church no matter where we are.
So be the church wherever you are, but know this: When you are not worshipping with the congregation that you connect with and call your family of faith, they miss you. There is something a little off when those we love, care for and wish to see are not with us.
So if you have been away, I take this time to welcome you back to your family of faith (wherever it may be) and know that they have missed you and will be happy to see you again.
You don't have to practice the reasons why you have been away....most likely folks will just say, "I'm happy to see you." or "We've missed you." or "We're glad you're here."
Just come. Worship. Pray. Eat. Be with one another.