I've been thinking recently about church. Not in a bad way, in a growing way. What is the church, how did we decide what denominations there are, what brings a person to a church on Sunday morning? In writing this, I hope you don't misunderstand me. I love church. I work for a church and wholeheartedly believe it is a foundation to move the Gospel forward in amazing ways. Yet, something is stirring in me as I sit and ponder.
My Grandfather always said the beach is where he went to find God. He could feel Him there, in the waves crashing along the shore, the peacefulness that overcomes you when you sit and listen to the water.
My mother always says the same thing, too. A serenity. It's where I got the inclination from - it's why the beach has always been my favorite place to go when I feel overwhelmed, uneasy, in question. Or, let's face it, just to take some beautiful pictures and enjoy some sunshine. There's a peaceful array that's much welcomed as soon as feet hit the sand. I too, find God at the beach.
In no way was my Grandfather knocking church. He went, just as I and my mother do, much like we all do. However, I feel as though many of us go out of obligation. An idea that we have to sit in a pew at church, to listen to a pastor or preacher or priest read scripture for us to be holy. That we must go for us to be good enough to make our way to heaven and feel accepted.
This is simply not true.
In no way does our sitting in a seat at church on Sunday morning give us leeway into heaven -only Jesus does that. The church building is not solely where God resides, waiting for us to visit Him and hoping we'll show up. It's a place for us to learn, to hear the Gospel and let it move within our hearts that we may leave each week and be changed. It's a great place, but not the only place. God exists in everything around you. It's why my Grandfather always went to the beach. It's where he chose he wanted to chat.
This past summer I was lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, stuck in a blinding spin of confusion. So, much to anyone's surprise that's reading this, I went to the beach. I sat, watching the waves soaking in the sun waiting for clarification. Waiting for an audible voice telling me what I needed to do or what my life was supposed to look like.
Much to my dismay, no audible voice came. But, God did. He met me in my distress and sat with me. He stepped into my confusion, digging his feet into the sand and waited with me. It's what He does. He doesn't expect us to walk to church anytime we need Him, sitting on His high chair awaiting our arrival. All He wants is to be involved in the everyday. The messy, the joyful, the confusing, the happy.
Not everyone has to be like me and my family. My husband certainly is not, he feels God in the mountains. Maybe for you it is church. Or maybe it's a long drive down the backroads of the country. Or on top of the roof late at night watching stars. Wherever it is, know that He is with you, alongside you. All you have to do is say hi, welcome to my life.