Friday, March 4, 2016
I grew up with my only experience of church being the Lutheran church in Finland. Church meant you would sit on hard wooden benches, listen to a sermon I didn't understand and stand up and sing hymns every now and then. Church was boring and it really didn't make any sense to me.
After I had become a Christian at 23 years old I started to go to church every now and then, at first mostly online and eventually I started to look for a church to join. As I was visiting many different churches there were many things that annoyed me: "Why do we have to sing so many songs in a row at this church?", "Why do some people lift their hands towards the sky in this church, that's so weird!", "This pastor is too boring, I liked the other one better."
A few years later I can look back at those days and laugh at how much negativity and criticism I came to church with in the beginning. Today I know that I don't go to church to be entertained, I go there to hear from God and to fellowship with other believers. I don't look for faults in every sermon and pastor, I listen and let God speak to me in my heart through the Holy Spirit. I'm no longer uncomfortable with some people lifting their hands or others clapping, I have realized that what we don't understand we often consider weird.
Church on Sundays is one of my favorite times during the week nowadays. When I sing worship songs to God I feel a deep sense of gratitude in my heart for everything God has done for me and I often feel overwhelmed by how good He is to me. I easily get tears in my eyes as I think back at all the things God has brought me through and how he has made a way where there was no way. "Nothing is impossible with God" is not something I have just heard people say, I have seen it become true in my own life. Having lived through experiences like that is what makes people want to clap their hands and raise their hands in church, it's an expression of deep gratitude and awe of what God can do for those who love him.