This morning I attended my beloved Unitarian Universalist church.
This may not seem significant, or blog-worthy, except that it’s been well over a year since I have attended Sunday services and so today I found myself reflecting on what I love about being part of a UU church community.
I love the energy of gathering.
Today, despite “losing an hour” of sleep, I arrived early and sat in the center of the gathering energy — the welcoming committee at the door greeting each arrival, the choir rehearsing one last time before service starts, friends hugging and catching up. It’s such a beautiful energy of excitement and anticipation.
I love the ritual.
Our church service begins with the sounding of a singing bowl. I love that the bustle of gathering instantly quiets as the bowl is sounded, the energy of gathering giving way to the energy of settling and being present. Without words, information is conveyed that it is now time to begin our worship service.
I love the community.
Announcements at the beginning of service, flyers hanging on the bulletin board in the community room. I love the people and their interests and all of the magical events and gatherings that spin out of this vibrant community.
I love the choir.
Whether I’m singing in the choir or sitting back in the audience, tapping my toes and taking in the beautiful music, I love how the presence of a choir elevates the mood and invites sacred transcendence into the room.
I love the religious education program.
I love that the RE program is a place for children and youth to be seen and celebrated for who they are and that they are exposed to the world’s major religions and spiritual thinkers while being encouraged to follow their own path.
I love that all are welcome.
I love being part of a UU church where all are welcome. I love the huge rainbow flag that hangs by the front door and all it represents as well as the fact that everyone who gathers together is encouraged to follow (and share about) his or her own personal spiritual path.
I love coming home.
People often refer to our church community as family and for me the experience is much the same. I love that our church is a place of eternal welcome, where I can slide away for a few weeks (or several months) and always be welcomed back with open arms and a warm embrace.
* * *
All of this is true, my friends. And yet, I still wander and go for long stretches without attending services.
Because sometimes I don’t feel like going to church. Sometimes I’d rather take a hike or attend a yoga class or snuggle up on the couch with my children. Sometimes life gets crazy and getting to church becomes one more thing that has to be done, one more day that an alarm must be set, and I find other ways to nurture my spirituality.
I find ritual in making a pot of tea and transcendence in the way the light hits the floor and community in a Sunday afternoon potluck.
For me the important thing is not how I nurture my spirituality (and that of my children) but that I do make space to nurture our spirituality — at home, in nature, or with our church community.
How about you, my friends? Do you go to church (temple or synagogue) regularly, occasionally or not at all? How is this working for you and your family? Please share and inspire us with your words.