I Go To Church
by Laurie S.
As I sat in sacrament meeting looking and listening and reflecting, it occurred to me, I've been coming to church every Sunday for 28 years! I converted to the church when I was 16, coming from a life void of any religious practices. What was almost as amazing to me as that number, was that I still liked it! I do, I look forward to coming to church each Sunday. I'm not bored or restless or wondering what else is out there that might be more entertaining or fun. I come each week looking forward to feeling the Spirit of Truth. I enjoy sitting and looking down the bench at each one of my children dressed in their Sunday best. Ok, well sometimes their socks don't match or their bed heads didn't quite get tamed, but there sit those I love waiting to hear the word of the Lord. It's a feeling of unity and purpose.
Let me preface by saying, I have NINE kids. Church has not, nor is not always the peaceful joyful experience I would like it to be. And it's almost never easy to get there. But besides the wiggling, poking and sometimes really ornery behavior, there's the deeper purpose. And it's worth it. If I choose to, I will always be inspired in some way before I leave. There will always be at least one small moment where my bosom will burn as the Holy Ghost bears witness of the truths being taught. Those are the moments I rely on the rest of the week when I feel discouraged or things are hard. As much as I go to church for that deep satisfaction and closeness to God I feel there, I also go because I feel a part of something bigger than myself. I had a "picture moment" a couple of weeks ago. You know that moment where you feel like you are looking from outside and you remember exactly what you saw and how you felt at that moment? Well, the feeling I had was "what a wonderful world this is!" I looked around at friends and neighbors talking, laughing, hugging, greeting and basically LOVING each other. How blessed am I to belong to an organization first and foremost, led by God himself, but is also made up of people who love God and try to "love thy neighbor as thyself". Sure, people aren't perfect and sometimes falter or offend, but as a whole, they are trying the best they can. I'm inspired to be better and try just a little harder as I rub shoulders with others who believe as I do. I know I have another family to count on in the congregation I attend.
Many will say, as my beautiful Grandmother did, "I can be religious at home". That's true, and you should be! Coming to church allows us the sacred opportunity to partake of the sacrament and renew covenants. The longer we go without engaging in these special ordinances, the more we forget how much we need them. If you were to pile up several pieces of coal and light them, they would produce heat and stay warm using heat from the other coals. If you pull a coal out of the pile, it will cool off quickly, not having any energy to keep it warm. The same happens to us when we stop coming to church and not relying on the warmth and strength we are provided as we come to partake and worship. In a wonderful talk by D. Todd Christofferson, he says this:
It is important to recognize that God’s ultimate purpose is our progress. His desire is that we continue “from grace to grace, until [we receive] a fulness” of all He can give. That requires more than simply being nice or feeling spiritual. It requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism of water and of the Spirit, and enduring in faith to the end. One cannot fully achieve this in isolation, so a major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.”
Going to church each week is a blessing, not a burden. It's a time to be uplifted and to be a part of something important and wonderful. A time to let our Heavenly Father know that you are "there for Him". A time to worship and pray and remember a loving Savior who gave all for each one of us. It's personal and social and something that I'm excited to do for many many more Sundays to come!