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9.18.2011

SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY (gentleman start your engines)

It's Sunday morning and all is quiet.  I laid in bed for an hour and half listening to the rhythmic breathing of my husband as he snuggled up to the crook in my neck with his leg slung over me.  I could see out the corner of the blind as the sun made its appearance.  I listened to the quiet.  I heard no cars.  No one stirring.  Nobody really having to be somewhere at a certain time.  Sunday is a unique day of the week.  I think we as humans like to think we have created this system of work and rest.  We really can't take credit as it was ordained, laid out for us thousands of years ago, by God himself when He brought into existence everything from nothing.  Each day of the week has a different feel or flow to it.  Sunday does too.  I grew up in church.  Born into it actually.  Then, making a relationship to Christ my own choice, and eventually being married to a pastor for 25 years.  I have a lot of Sundays under my belt.  Sundays as a child were absolute.  They were patterned, concrete, ritualistic.  Part of that is comforting to a kid - knowing something is always the same, consistent.  My mom would prepare Saturday for Sunday - doing the baking of pies, or some dessert, prep work for oven fried chicken or pot roast, possibly creamed chicken over homemade biscuits.  Whatever it was, our Sunday meal was delicious and the kind you would usually serve company.  And company we had on Sundays - sometimes family and other times, the pastor or missionaries visiting our church or my parents friends.  Sundays were always church.  Always.  There was no teenage revolting over whether you were going to church.  When Dad got in the car in the garage and honked (also another Sunday ritual), you grabbed your Bible and shoes and ran to the car.   Naps, reading, watching football, playing outside or long bike rides usually followed the big meal and clean up.  We then went back to church for an evening service.  That was the part of Sunday I grew to hate.  I questioned the need for double duty church on Sunday.  I had gotten through to God earlier in the day and had felt Him on my bike in the afternoon.  I didn't need another sermon or more hymns to know God loved me or to show Him my love.   As I got older and was married to a pastor, Sunday morphed into a day of giving all I had away to people.  It was a rewarding day, moving and exciting (the culmination of much of what you do hurtles you towards Sunday morning in the pastorate).  And at times, it was highly frustrating, disappointing, overwhelming, and exhausting.  I constantly had to ask God to give me the right perspective on what church was about -  to not be sucked into administration, people's bad attitudes, and many times, my own humanness.  I wanted church for me, and all those that walked through the door, to be about God.  To be about experiencing, seeing, feeling God - who He is, His grace, His love.   My life took me out of the ministry and eventually out of a marriage to a pastor.  It has been strange, hard, and sometimes hurtful but ultimately a very freeing and cathartic journey leaving "Sundays" in the way I have mostly only known them to be. God continues to heal some hurts and deep, deep disappointment with people from my ministry past.  Two and a half years out of the ministry I am surfacing back to the light and hungering for what Sundays are intended to be, what I have always wanted them to be - about experiencing God through this ordained, corporate, flawed by humans sort of mechanism - church.   

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