Can I be honest about something? Sundays can be hard. Going to church to hear God’s Word and fellowship with God’s people can feel like a another responsibility and not like the restful Sabbath that it should be. After a long week of work and responsibilities, disappointments and sin struggles, conflict and trials, Saturday morning comes and I finally begin to exhale. Then comes Sunday morning and I often feel like I am supposed to have it all together. But I didn’t breathe deeply enough for that. Most Sundays I’m still gasping for the air that will carry me through the rest of the week. Most Sundays I’m a mess.
There is this pressure to come to church cleaned up, ready, eager and joyful. But many Sundays this isn’t my experience. Most Sunday mornings I pry myself out of bed, wrestle my toddler into clothes. I usually don’t get breakfast, or time to quiet my heart before I rush out of the door, only to realize that I have oatmeal all over my shirt and forgot to put on deodorant. Many Sundays I feel so inadequate for the task of fellowship. I’m either too burdened by my own struggles to feel of any use to anyone else, or I genuinely don’t know what to say or how best to encourage others. Many Sundays I sit and cry because I’m so hungry for Jesus and realized that most of the week was spent neglecting Him. Many Sundays I struggle to know my place in the church and in the lives of my fellow believers. I wonder what I have to offer to the church. I carry the burden of difficult relationships or sin and inadequacies. I sometimes walk into church so aware of myself that I can’t even see God. I can feel like a fake for even showing up. But I am realizing something: on those Sundays when I am all I can see, church is exactly where I need to be. Mess and all.
I need to be in church to be reminded of truth and the power of the gospel in my life and over my circumstances. So often in my busyness I lose sight of how the gospel applies to my everyday life. The reality that my sins are forgiven gets lost in the shame and guilt of losing my temper with my toddler. The reality that I have all that I need pertaining to life and godliness can be forgotten when I feel overwhelmed by responsibility and when there never seems to be enough time. The reality that God is a “good good Father” can be drowned out as I struggle to have a quiet time, or question circumstances that arise in my life. I need the Sunday mornings, the service and the people, to remind me of what I believe when I’m too tired or distracted to remind myself.
I need to be in church because it is an opportunity to take my eyes off of myself and lift them up, first, to encounter the Lord and His fresh grace and mercy. Then, I look out to encounter His people where I am met with encouragement and spurred on to persevere in the faith as I stand together with God’s people in worship. I need to be in church to see the sister worshiping passionately despite sickness. I need to see the brother serving tirelessly and with joy to the honor of the Lord. Sunday morning gives me the opportunity to serve and love and give, and find that God refills my cup as I pour out. Sundays provide me the opportunity to lay my burdens before the Lord and my brothers and sisters, freeing me to carry burdens of others in prayer.
I need Sunday mornings because they remind me that it's not about me. This life, my circumstances, God sees them. He sees my fears, my striving, my weaknesses, my sin. The Lord sees my mess. But He calls me to come, mess and all, and behold Him. Love Him. Seek Him. Trust Him. And He calls me to do it with The Church for my good and for his glory.
So I’ll keep coming on Sundays with my mess in tow. And I hope you will too.
About the Author: Kennesha Rodgers began attending Solid Rock Church with her parents in 1994. She and her husband Ben have been married since January 2012. They have one son, and a daughter due in July 2016. Kennesha currently works at Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services as a Bilingual Crisis Center Case Manager.