Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Looking For A Life In Grace
One year of church shopping. One year of being "visitors" and not "members". One year of feeling unsettled every weekend.
It's been a journey. We've been tempted to settle on many an occasion. Surely this one is fine. I mean, yeah, their beliefs are not in unison with our own, but the preaching is good and the music is first rate. Isn't that good enough?
I don't want good enough.
We had the opportunity to worship with our former church family in Indiana this month, and it was priceless. That fellowship of believers. Just thinking about it can bring tears to my eyes.
We had a great conversation with our pastor and his wife, who understood our trials all too well. Their two daughters are going through a similar process in the Chicago area, looking for a church that preaches the Gospel of grace.
I so want that, too.
I've prayed on it, and I've journalled on it. My pastor has prayed on it. And then something shifted in me.
I was reading Edie's excellent blog, Life in Grace, and she mentioned in a post that she drives one hour away to get to church on Sunday.
Wow. That's a commitment!
And that's when I began to feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit telling me to cast a wider net.
I did a lot of research and found a church with a nice website, an excellent mission statement, and a vibrant and active ministry. The only problem? It is forty minutes of long, winding country roads to get to it.
We visited on Sunday, and for the first time in a long time I feel hopeful again.
I emailed my pastor and asked him "How far is too far to drive to church on Sunday?"
He told me that when he was a pastor in southern Indiana, most of his congregation drove thirty to fifty minutes to get to church. Yes, it does make midweek participation a little more difficult, he said, but you find ways to incorporate the drive into your other weekly routines.
And then he wrote this:
"The teaching is so important because a hollowed out Gospel with law-driven prescription is not the Gospel. "
Yes. I think it would be worth the drive.
Tell me, have you ever had to put a lot of miles on your car to get to church? What has your experience been?