Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I Go to Church

Church allows me to serve others who are different than I am in a community that I have embraced as my own. I don't go to church for my own edification. I go to lose myself in the service of others who need someone to love them. I go to try to become the example of what I hope we all are striving to become. I go to love those whom I wouldn't love naturally. I need more than just church to do all that, but I need church to do it fully.

People need me and my smile and my unique views and the knowledge I give them that they are OK in their own struggles, so I go.

I sometimes am the voice they can't express, so I go.

I often am the hug they never get from anyone else, so I go.

Ironically, when I'm not stressed out about insisting that others teach and help me, I nearly always am taught and helped the most. When I'm not insisting that others give me the Spirit, I usually feel it the most strongly. When I'm not insisting that others understand everything about me and my persepctive, I nearly always understand them and their perspectives better. When it no longer is all about me, I grow the most.

So I go.


Richard Alger said...

You are edified because you are not seeking to only feed your own soul. Spiritual growth comes when we seek to lift others.

Thanks so much for this.

Paul said...

Papa D, you're a better man than I am. I do go to church to serve. But I also go to feed myself. Clearly you are correct: when we are serving others is when we are most likely to be well fed. But I would not be truthful if I suggested I did not go for me.

(Furthermore, I go for my children -- to be an example and an encourager of their faith and spiritual development. Of course I do more than just attend church to that end, including regular scripture study, family prayer and gospel teaching in the home.)

And I go to partake of the sacrament. The ordinance and its ritual are an important part of my spiritual feeding.

Papa D said...

Paul, I absolutely include my wife and children n in the "others" for whom I attend church. Thanks for prompting me to say that explicitly.

I'm kind of strange in one way:

I truly, madly, deeply LOVE symbolism, so I adore the temple ceremonies, but the sacrament never has done anything for me spiritually or emotionally. I appreciate the symbolism deeply, on an intellectual level, but it just doesn't "move" me in any way - and never has. I partake because it's a central part of the worship service, but I wouldn't miss it a bit if it didn't occur.

Honestly, I have no idea whatsoever why that is the case for me. It truly baffles me. I used to be concerned a bit about it, but I've come to accept it as just part of who I am - so I'm at peace with it now.

Jane said...

Wow. I have been struggling lately, feeling like I'm not "getting" much out of church, being frustrated at times by comments or talks, feeling bored in my calling playing the piano in Primary (the kids are darling, but I listen to the same Sharing Time lesson twice in a row and it can be tedious). So thank you for this--it has really inspired me.