Life Is My Church

I saw a picture recently on social media–a beautiful fall scene, with the sun rising beautifully over a vista of trees and water and clouds, the sort of view that speaks peace into your very soul. The caption to the photo that my friend who posted it felt summed up the view was: “Life is my church”. I believe I know what she meant to convey by that caption—the idea that life has the potential to teach us as much about God as church can, that a moment in nature can introduce us to a face of God we haven’t seen before, when all too often we sit routinely in church and don’t look for God at all.

But the quote made me think deeper, particularly given that after moving to a different state, my family has just embarked on a church search. Neither my husband nor myself particularly enjoy looking for churches, what with the figuring out service times and locations, awkward introductions, children in a new class every week, and the list goes on. There is something exciting about it, and we try to focus on that, but this past Sunday the difficult parts of church searching were much more prominent. We’ve just moved to a new area and aren’t extremely familiar with the roads, and we were headed to a new church. By the time we realized we were driving in the wrong direction, we would have been late for the service, so my husband drove around the area, looking for churches while I looked up info about service times and locations. Inevitably each one we found had just started or was too far away to make it in time, and we were both getting increasingly grumpy as we navigated the unfamiliar roads.

fall_drive_xsmWhen I stopped looking at my phone screen and looked up, however, my perspective changed. All around us were hints of a beautiful fall day—the sun shining out of the clouds, fall colors glowing on trees, and a beautiful blue sky. This is a moment where I think the quote “Life is my church” applies perfectly—we were in such a rush to get to a church building at a certain time that we almost missed the opportunity to meet God in the natural world surrounding us, a world with no schedule for worship time and no difficult-to-find address.

A few months before that, on one of our first Sundays in our new state, we’d done a similar Sunday morning drive. We were living with family in a temporary arrangement, and we were driving around on Sunday looking for a church service with a time we could make. We were repeatedly unsuccessful, and finally we gave up, opting instead for a back-to-school haircut and a family lunch. Is that the ideal Sunday morning? I don’t believe that it is, but on that Sunday morning, it was just what our family needed. A fresh start and a calm meal together showed us the peace of God, and the dining area at Applebee’s became our sanctuary, just for that moment.

Our search for a church continues because our family believes that there is something about a body of believers—imperfect, messy—that shows us something about God we might otherwise miss. There is certainly something about a church body that I believe is essential to us as Christ-followers, but may we also be open to finding church outside of a building—at a neighborhood soccer game, at a family picnic, or perhaps, just while driving in our car on a beautiful Sunday morning. May we search for churches with open hearts, and when we find them, worship God together.

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Photo Credit: Donyale Leslie

Kimberly McClung DeVries was raised in a minister’s family, first overseas as missionaries and then in Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia to receive a degree in telecommunications, worked briefly in that field, and then went to law school instead, also in Athens. She has worked as a public defender and for a legal aid agency, and now resides in Mississippi with her husband and two boys. Kimberly is trying to grow by pushing herself out of her comfort zone. To that end, she has a toddler and a baby, both boys, works full time as a lawyer, and is also helping her husband survive his PhD.

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