“Church. Church? I go.”
It’s the question my daughter Charlotte asks every Sunday. Some mornings she wakes up saying the word church. Some mornings she wants to be dressed and ready to go hours before we need to be at church. Some mornings she can’t eat her breakfast fast enough or get her clothes on quick enough. She keeps asking, “Church?”
Our answer always, “Yes, we’re going to church, but not right now. No one else is there.”
“Yes!” she says. “Church!”
We can go on like this for the whole morning. She’ll ask about church and we’ll tell her why we can’t go at that particular moment. Followed then by her exclaiming more and more. “Yes! Church! I go!”
I love her excitement about going to church. Some days I wish I shared her enthusiasm. Some days it’s one more thing to do and one more place to be. Some mornings both her dad and I are going in opposite directions preaching in different churches. Our mornings are hurried and rushed and busy. Everyone needs to be dressed and fed and out the door at a certain time. Inevitably on those mornings somebody wakes up too early and extra crabby, another doesn’t like their breakfast, another will only want to wear a certain shirt that is in the wash or has been worn for days, we can’t find the diaper bag or shoes, and the sermon needs to be printed at the last minute.
This is supposed to be the Sabbath day? This is restful?
Then my thoughts and the rush are broken by Charlotte’s words: “Church! Church! I go!”
Yes, we go to church. Charlotte’s enthusiasm is contagious. It’s an important reminder that going to church is meant to be joyful and lifegiving. It’s meant to be a place to go to let go of the rush and stress of the days. It’s a place to meet friends and be in community. It’s a place to rest at the feet of Jesus. It’s the place to receive tiny bits of bread and wine trusting God to transform the tiny pieces into an abundance. It’s a place to ask hard questions. It’s a place to be known.
Charlotte asks us every Sunday if we’re going to church.
Yes, we’re going, dear girl. And thank you for reminding me how much I need to be there.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/