Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quiet Sunday mornings...

...are, perhaps, even more wonderful than quiet Saturday mornings. They are also more rare. Most Sunday mornings see us getting ready for the 9 a.m. church service we usually attend. Granted, as the kids have gotten older, that has become a less noisy, less harried process, but is not quiet, nor necessarily peaceful, and it usually isn't lost on me how the preparation to get to church often acts counter to putting one's heart in a worshipful state. Usually it's more like, "Man, let's just get there already!"

Don't get me wrong. I like my church a lot. We have an awesome pastor who shares scripturally-sound messages week after week. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker, which, while not a requirement for a pastor, is certainly a plus in my mind. I love, love, love the people there. Granted, it's not a perfect church, but it's our church home and we're pretty happy there.

Still, there are some Sundays when I (or we) don't go. I used to feel guilty about that, but I really don't anymore. I've found that sometimes, having a quiet Sunday morning at home gives me a chance to be quiet within myself, and that's when I am best able to feel close to God. I might read my Bible or listen to music (I don't listen to contemporary Christian music because very little of it appeals to me, but there are some worship songs that I truly enjoy, or simple instrumental music that calms my soul). Often, though, I'll just go outside and observe creation in my little corner of the world, because that never ceases to remind me God's goodness and wonder and great love.

Though I don't talk about my faith here on the blog much (though it certainly fits with the whole "inspired" theme), it is an important part of my life. I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God, even when I was very young. I can look back over the past 25 - 30 years and see a distinct path my faith life has taken over time, complete with ups and downs. I cannot imagine having gotten through a lot of things had I not had my faith to rely on. 

Sometimes, in the thick of things, the only thing I can muster by way of faith is remembering that God said, "I AM." (Exodus 3:14, if you want the reference!) To me, that means that God is God. He is never changing. He is always present in my life and in the world. He loves me and he loves those I love more than I could ever love them. I may not understand why some things happen, nor what will happen in the future, but knowing that God is God is enough for me. I trust him, fully and completely.

In recent years, I've found myself on what I think of as spiritual auto-pilot a lot. Not exactly lazy, but not as active as I used to be. (By "active" I don't mean active in my church, I mean active personally in my own faith life...not sure how else to describe it.) My faith is there, and it is stronger than it's ever been, but it is different than when I was younger. Recently I enjoyed a conversation about spiritual issues with a young couple I'm getting to know. One of the things that struck me during our talk was what I've categorized as their youthful exuberance about their faith. It was refreshing and made me smile, remembering that same thing in myself at one time. 

Faith, like anything else though, is a journey, and we don't stay in the same place forever. In my 40s, I don't expect to experience or express my faith in the same ways as I did in my 20s, and that's ok. But being in the presence of a 20-something who is alive with joy from God can be a welcome reminder to turn off the auto-pilot more often and reconnect more actively with the faith that is such an important part of who I am.

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