Today is the twelfth day of our #formationFOUNDATIONS series. In case you're new here, you can read more about this series or start from the beginning at SacredOrdinaryDays.com/FF. Our goal for this series is to help you...
- LEARN about different spiritual practices that you can adopt for your own walk. You will learn how to make the most of your Sacred Ordinary Days planner or the FREE Essentials Workbook you got when you joined our newsletter list, which has all the most essential pages from the planner that we don't want anyone to miss out on.
- PRACTICE these things on a daily, weekly, seasonally and yearly schedule. You will be able to lay (or bolster up) a strong spiritual formation foundation by clearing the space for your new spiritual practices to deepen.
- SHARE your experience with people who speak the same language. You'll get to know the other members of our community, who are some of the wisest, most interesting, super fun, and most real people I know by following along on Instagram or Facebook or inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.
Day 12 | Church
When I say “church”, what comes to mind?
Is it a building? One that feels familiar and comfortable or one that feels cold and distant? A place where you experience awe? A place of community? A place that is filling and life-giving? A place that is draining and asks too much of you? Your place of employment? Is it a place you love, a place you miss, a place you hate, or a place you are seeking? Is church a group of people for you, wherever you meet? Does it mean love and acceptance for you? Or does it mean disappointment or fear?
We each have a unique experience of and with church and often use our own definitions to understand what church is. Sometimes our experiences draw us in and sometimes they push us away.
At its core, church is about people gathering together to worship God. As Jesus gathered his disciples together, and the early church of Acts gathered together to continue to learn, grow, love, serve, and worship together. We gather together today for those same reasons.
But it can be easy for us today to lose touch with that and get caught up in the external things of church: the building or location, the activities, the schedules, the volunteer needs. Sometimes when we work at the church we become even more focused on those things because it is our job to do to: the building maintenance or rental contracts, finding or creating activities that meet the needs of all the age groups, recruiting enough volunteers to do all the things so we don’t have to do it all ourselves.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our regular church attendance, too. Perhaps it's a season of health needs keeping us home or the care of others making it nearly impossible to leave the house. For others, still, a job that rotates shifts or requires us to work some or all Sundays.
And, let's not go without mentioning that it's easy to be skeptical of the local church. The closer you get, the more problems there are to see. It's tempting to let a season of looking for a church linger for months or years (or end before it bears fruit) because you haven't found the right one.
I've heard from many in our community who also feel called to live in cities, neighborhoods, regions that don't have the types of churches they would feel most at home and most connected to God in. Of course, we choose where to live based on many things including family, jobs, educational opportunities for children and ourselves, even friendships. Choosing to live somewhere for good reasons is such a gift, but when it means finding a church is difficult, it can also feel like a trick.
So, what are we going to do?
What do you do?
What does church look like for you?
And how does it fit into your weekly rhythm?
As Richard Foster says, “If the Lord is to be Lord, worship must have priority in our lives.”
We invite you to prayerfully reflect on these questions today and consider how church can be a weekly practice in your life:
- How does church currently fit into your weekly rhythm?
- How are you giving worship priority in your life?
- Are you sensing an invitation to move deeper into church, into community, and become more engaged? Are you sensing an invitation to move out from church, to bring community to people who aren’t or can't be there?
Head over to Instagram or Facebook and share your experience with this practice using #formationFOUNDATIONS and tag us @sacredordinarydays, please! Or, join the conversation inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.
Join us this week as we focus on weekly practices! You can always see the latest blog post in the series at SacredOrdinaryDays.com/FF when it's live. So, check there each day for the latest!
If you'd like to use the planner alongside us, you can order one today or get August for $4. You might even already have a planner, either the new Academic year or the previous Liturgical year. If not, today's the day to order yours since they just started on August 1st!