Beating the Summer Doldrums

It’s hard to admit it, but I’m tired of going to church.

newlifeworship-001We attend nearly every Sunday, sitting in the same spot, singing the same songs (or at least the same style of songs—after a while they all begin to sound the same to me), listening to yet another (admittedly excellent) sermon, taking communion, and saying hi to our friends.

Every week before the worship service we attend the Outreach Sunday school class. There we learn about missions, other religions, and what various church-supported ministries are doing around the world.Twice a month we get up extra early to volunteer in our church café.

When you get down it it, it’s pretty much the same routine, week after week, month after month. Is worshiping God and fellowshipping with other believers supposed to always be the same?

I find myself bored. In church! How can I possibly be bored worshiping the God of the universe, who holds galaxies in His hand, yet knows every minute detail of my life? It’s sacrilege! And yet true.

So I’ve been feeling sort of guilty.

This past Sunday I played hooky. Instead of going to church, I joined a group of naturalists on a field trip to look for Odonates (the order that includes dragonflies and damselflies). It was well into the 90s out on the plains, with no shade in sight. As we pushed through waist-high grasses and wild licorice (which has burs that inspired the invention of Velcro), sweat dripped off my chin and deer flies attacked any exposed skin. It was prime rattlesnake habitat, yet we couldn’t see our feet, which was a bit nerve-wracking. Yet, several hours into our day-long ordeal, I realized that I was supremely happy.

ChicoBasinRanch-CO_LAH_4294-001Here I was, out in nature, taking photo after photo of the most amazing creatures God ever made. The meadowhawks, darners, and skimmers looked like prehistoric helicopters. When I wasn’t taking pictures of Odes, I nabbed shots of the other insects, wildflowers and weeds, and anything else that caught my eye.

I found myself praying, thanking God for making such an incredible planet for us to live on. It was easier for me to pray out in the middle of the mucky fields than it was at church. (I find it extremely difficult to concentrate with the loud music hurting my ears.)

And I realized—I wasn’t tired of God. I was just bored with the uniformity in the way we happened to worship every week.

ChicoBasinRanch-CO_LAH_3943I’ve written posts about why I consider church attendance so important—how we go to worship God, not please ourselves. I haven’t changed my mind about that. I’ll continue to go to church every week, and whether or not I approve of the service isn’t important, as long as God approves.

However, I’ve come to realize that I’m just not a creature of habit. I like changes. So, at least for me, doing anything the same over and over, year after year, can get a bit tedious—even if it’s something right and good and wonderful. And doing something different, but equally good, might be just what I need.

So, I’ve decided that maybe I’ll visit other churches once in a while, especially ones with another style of worship, different music, or at least someone else writing the sermon. Perhaps the novelty will help me pay more attention to what I’m singing, or saying, or listening too. And the following week, when I’m back in my usual spot, everything will seem new and fresh again and I’ll be able to better concentrate there as well. We’re blessed that we live in a town with so many excellent churches that I hardly know where to begin.

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