I don't know why you come to church on a particular Sunday, or why you don't. Sometimes you show up; sometimes you don't. When you don't, maybe it's because you are sick or out of town or your alarm clock didn't go off you you just can't bear to be in a room with those particular people on this particular day. Maybe you are caught between wanting your kids to experience God and a faith community, and the reality of what it's really like to be a part of a faith community.
When you come, maybe it's because you heard that lately, some of the little kids get up and dance during the final hymn, and you are hoping to catch a glimpse of that. Or maybe it's because your kids are singing in the choir today, or you are reading the lessons at the second service. Maybe you come because you really like that new pastor; he really sounds like he believes what he's talking about. Besides, he has a good sense of humor.
Or, maybe you just want to sing, at the top of your lungs. Where else can you go to sing?
Maybe you come because deep down, you are hungry for the promise in that little piece of bread and that small sip of wine. Maybe you come because you need to be reminded that there is something bigger than you, that, even though things seem bleak, somehow, in the end, everything will come out all right. Maybe you come because you need courage to keep on doing good, to keep fighting the good fight. Or maybe your come because you need a hand to lift you up, and you are hoping that there will be a hand there today. Please let there be a hand there today.
If you don't know why you come, here's a reason:
You don't come for yourself. You come for someone else. You come for that person who needs a word, a hand up, a heart. You come for the person who needs someone to sit beside her. You come for the child who needs to be told he is smart. You come for the widow who walks in slowly; you come for the teenager who needs someone to say "You belong." You come and you practice looking for the person, the one you are there for.
You come and you practice, so you can go back out and practice looking all week, looking for the person that God is sending to you.