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We Need More Than Ourselves

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – slightly_everything

I spent most of my Sundays growing up as a kid being dragged to some kind of charismatic church; tent meeting or guest-preacher service.

Mostly I was bored. Often I would sleep under the seats.

Sometimes I’d smuggle in Matchbox cars and drive them along the curvey armrests of the pews. And other times I would hear.

Kids Hear Things

Even as a child, I remember hearing the beautiful music that was elevated by all the voices singing together.

In particular, there was a little old Italian woman who always sat behind me. She sang a third of the words in English, a third in Italian and a third in other tongues.

She didn’t have a great sounding voice as I recall, but she did sing with all her heart. That has always lingered with me.

I would also hear some of the words.

How “Hearing” Helps

Words like, “Be kind to one another…” or “Forgive as you’ve been forgiven…” or “Love others as you love yourself…” but I mostly remember hearing the words, “Fear not…”

Those are important words for any and every child to hear – that they shouldn’t fear. That has always lingered with me as well.

I would also hear tears.

Hearing With Your Heart

People would cry over their lost loved ones; past mistakes; personal problems or other maladies of the heart, mind and spirit. Others nearby would hug them and pray quietly.

Words of encouragement and hope were shared as well as real offers to help. I would hear tears and that lingers with me still.

So much so, that my wife and I drag our daughters to church every Sunday with their pockets filled with Polly Pockets and her tiny rubberized wardrobe.

I know that sometimes they’re bored. Sometimes they whine, sometimes they complain, but other times – they hear. I know they hear, because they ask the same questions I used to ask my parents driving home from church.

Beauty of Faith

And the beauty of faith is that it offers real hope for the hardest questions we face in life – questions of living, loving and dying.

Even though Karl Marx called religion the “opiate of the masses” it’s a better “drug” than the self-medicated, secularized state of numbness that seems to be leeching across our culture and country.

Connection is Key

In pursuit of our downloadable digital distractions; our iPhone/iPad/iPod isolation; our virtual viral vexations – we are so very disconnected from what truly matters, and that’s each other.

And that’s why church matters – it offers community, contact and comfort in a world that’s becoming increasingly devoid of such novelties.

I believe that church is one of the few places where we can go to find truth and support that meets our deepest needs. Because don’t we ALL need something more than just ourselves?

Question: Was there a time in your life when you found comfort in faith?

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  1. We raised our kids the same way and the peace that brings to a parent is so important. Children hear and understand more then we give them credit for and I think walk a more truer path with God then many adults. I know that the King is watching over my kids, loves them more then I could ever and will protect them better then I am able. That brings me comfort.

  2. I brought my child to synagogue every week of their lives from day 8 until they left home for college. Yes, sometimes, kicking and screaming. But, I also brought a book, a toy (or two), a snack, and more patience than I thought I possessed.
    On top of that, I brought a sidur (prayer book) that I had written for them. With pictures. So, that when a salient prayer (everyone has a few of them), we used the book and they learned to join in (even in the silent prayer, which, dependent upon their age, involved six pages with lots of pictures or ten pages with words and pictures)….
    I vote for that approach.

  3. hey Tor, this is my first time stopping by your blog. My friend Michelle Colon-Johnson recommended it and I’m glad she did. I also believe that building a connection is very important for many areas of our life. Looking forward to reading more here.

  4. Tor – enjoyed the thought process of your post. I find great comfort in my faith. Especially as a teenager when nothing in life seemed to make sense, I found comfort in retreating to God. As one who didn’t grow up in a church, I’m now bringing my children up in one. It’s encouraging to hear that you heard various lessons. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Over the years my church family has provided so much support and encouragement to me. I live 2300 miles away from family and my church has been my second family.

  6. I took community for granted in years gone by. I began to understand that when we moved to Paraguay. However, these last two years I have grown to crave it in its absence.

    I have a great church I attend here. We have friends and spend time with them but, there is something different about worshiping together in your heart language.

    After 4 years here it is still a challenge sometimes to fully understand the intent of the sermon or praise songs. The nuance of the language only comes with many more years than I have logged.

    Thankfully we have missionary friends close by that we get together with and have that community. It is an ointment at times. Great post Tor.

  7. kate / slightly everything says:

    hi, I came by your blog today because i noticed you had used my image in this post. I’m really please I did and am looking forward to reading more.

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