Gone are the days of “Blue Laws” which mandated commercial establishments be closed on Sundays because people were to be in church. Now people are free to shop and play or just sleep in on Sunday mornings rather than go to church.

Why choose to go to church anyway? Going to church in the past for some was anything but a positive and affirming experience. In the eyes of many, churches are bastions of judgmentalism. My response: Don’t go to such places! But please don’t paint all churches with a broad brush denying yourself the opportunity to encounter and grow with God; because there are houses of worship that “get it,” that understand God is one who came out of love, for love, and in love, as Emmanuel (meaning God-With-Us).

            The question “Why go to church?” is fatally flawed and outdated. The days when people went to church to passively watch a minister “enact or do church” without uncomfortable and unwanted challenges to one’s biased beliefs are thankfully gone as well. Those were seldom spiritually vibrant worship experiences. Instead, a healthy and holy community – one that can nurture, feed, and support you – is one where people go to be, and to learn to be, Church. It’s a community which takes seriously that in Holy Communion we receive what we are to become – Christ’s loving presence in and for the world.

            You are uniquely you! We are greater when we – in all our diversity – are one as God is one; so come as you are – as one loved by God – to perfect our love. This is the way we thrive – individually, as a community, and ultimately as a species. Here is also the way to find joy – real joy – in life. As you know, it’s in community that we find the profound joy of acceptance. Furthermore, it’s in community that we shed judgmentalism. By being Church we focus on reconciliation and togetherness. We eschew divisiveness and all the harsh, uncharitable emotions that come with denigrating some to puff up the supposedly elect few. Being Church radically says we are all worthy– not by earning it but rather by who we are and whose we are – all children of the one living God, whose light shines in every human being.

            I invite you to Christ’s church at St. Nicholas. This is who we are. This is who you are. Come, See, and Share Our Peace. Thrive in a life of love of self and others.