005. finding God on the back pew

finding god on the back pew blake blankenbecler.jpg

you ask me if i go to church
i know this question well it’s come from my lips hundreds of times and because i’ve asked it i know underneath the innocently posed question are a million more. 

are you safe do you stay in the boxes or have you left them for the wilderness are you a wanderer or a warrior will you judge me for my truth
what will you make of my doubt or disbelief
what are you not saying when i speak to your curiosity?

to you i say, i go to church everyday.

some days, i am the acolyte holding the crucifix
or the flame walking in silence
because when has silence not ever been holy?

some days, i sing and lift my voice to the glory and harmonies of others
my heart expands and i am lifted into thin space
where heaven and earth come close
and joy and sorrow settle in my bones.

some days, i am given stories to be reminded that life is to be lived full heartedly and imperfectly
my grave clothes of shame seek only to steal the truth of my belovedness
an ancient call to take heart to walk in love and courage on the journey of hope.

some days, i believe and need help with my unbelief i stand with others who can say the words i cannot who hold belief for me while i hold doubt.

some days, i pray for the people i choose love over cynicism hope over despair abundance over scarcity i remember the lost and the sick and the hurting the ones in power and the ones oppressed and blessing comes out of my cries.

some days, i ask for forgiveness to take responsibility for the things left undone the words left unsaid the love withheld
the folly of my ego
and i am met with kindness over contempt
an offering of a new cup with fresh water.

some days, i pass the peace
i extend my arms wider than i know how
opening up my heart for the story of another
taking off my shoes and laying them aside
because every person’s story is sacred ground.

some days, i serve the cup of suffering and his body broken
communion as an invitation to a life of suffering well.

some days, i am served
as my knees find their way to the pew and i kneel down low
i hold out my hands to be filled with the gifts of sacrifice
i practice receiving well.

some days, i fill my table with people
to tell the truth
to light candles for our secrets
to give each other the steadiness of our hearts
we keep the feast.

some days, i give out of gratitude
sometimes out of risky trust
that more will be done in collective goodness
than i can do alone.

some days, i open up my hands and my heart
to receive a blessing spoken from above
a call of remembrance back to the truth
that i am wholly loved
needy and dependent
saint and sinner light and dark.

some days, i walk away in fear and anger
keeping silent the questions and the truths
making up stories of impending judgement.

some days, i do go to church
because showing up is the best i can do
a declaration of hope
that the spirit always loves me back to life
that fire will keep my heart soft and warm
winning amidst the heartbreak of days

some days, i am caught off guard
when resurrection peaks out in the light of day
and death is not the final word
in love i live and move and have my being.

some days, i wake up to the glory
that to be alive in this broken world is a gift
that my heart and your heart hold glory divine.

to you i ask, do you go to church some days too?


Self-Care Questions:: 

How do you honor your questions about faith and spirituality?

Who holds your belief in your seasons of doubt and unbelief well?

Reading my journals from years past is always a good tell as to how my faith has grown up. How has your faith evolved and changed?

What wakes you up to the glory of the living?