Having recently moved and in transition, I have done a bit of church hopping. More like dragging than hopping, because I actually don’t like going to church on my own. Who does? Going with a friend is much more enjoyable. It’s the sitting by myself and the awkwardness of going in and out the doors alone. Pure agony. I’d rather go a day without my morning and afternoon coffee. It’s THAT stretching for me. But every good little Christian and even the sinners go to church on Easter. Joking aside, it would be nice to go somewhere where I’m known. Being known takes time and patience, with probably a lot of painful awkwardness. And the painful awkwardness of social interaction exhausts the little introvert.
I’ve narrowed it to down to three churches.
Church # 1:
I used to attend when I lived in the area years ago. It’s totally different (in a good way) now and most of those I really knew back then don’t live here now. But there’s an easter egg hunt after (tempting) where I can watch children race around while I stand next to young parents I don’t know. And free lunch. Hmm. Free lunch.
Church # 2:
I was invited to a korean, latino, (and white) service where there will be korean food (which I love) after. But in that church I really really don’t know anyone. Even more so than the first church. Except my mechanic and his wife. And mostly they just know that my car is a honda and that it needs a lot of tlc.
Church # 3:
I went to it a couple weeks ago and I did enjoy it. Except for sitting alone and all the social discomfort before and after the service. No free lunch there.
I’m thinking of narrowing it down to where there’s lunch.
Thinking about Jesus today, I realized something. He “gets” the singles. He was one, after all. Knowing our desire to feel connected and part of the fam. I guess I knew this, but I saw another beautiful facet of his heart. The desire for relationship and family. What better time to share your heart with the ones you love than when you have been resurrected three days after experiencing a most traumatizing agonizing death? His words to his “boys” would capture all the affection his overflowing heart–bringing healing to their broken memories as they’d recall their best friend crucified.
Announcement, announcement, I have an announcement! Tell my brothers (family lingo) that I’m going back home to my dad, who also happens to be your dad. (Liz Brown paraphrase of John 17:20)
He didn’t even mention the sacrifice that crushed sin and death. Yes, it happened and it happened big. He skipped right to the good news– A. Family. Had. Been. Born. We were now fully reconnected to his father, and our father, his God and our God. We are part of the tribe. We truly belong now. This is what was finished. No more disconnection. No longer orphans. We have a home. The party was planned, and we were invited.
I’m convinced he had always longed for a family. Who knows if he ever desired marriage, but he sure needed connection. He ran with his twelve “brothers”- eating, laughing, burping (probably)– doing life together. Not to mention his good friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (Free lunch.) He may have been single and God, but he was also single and man. He needed close friends and community too. Let’s not over spiritualize him and take away his humanity in doing so. He would never know family in the conventional sense of the word. Wife and kids. But he would fulfill the desire of his heart and ours to be a part of a family. The family of God.
God places the lonely in a family. (Psalm 68:6)
So single, married, and happy or grumpy about it. It doesn’t matter. We all are designed for family life. A place where there’s plenty of room, free lunch, good friends, and best of all a Father who loves us and an older brother who paid for the event.