When you're on staff at a church, you seldom get to be away on weekends, let alone visit other churches in your community. And in our 'me' focused culture, I think it's easy for each church to begin to see itself as the only game in town.
In the past two months we've gone to church with different friends, we've visited churches out of town and attended the church where Boo goes to preschool so he could join his friends singing to the congregation.
And though they're man-made creations, I'm discovering that churches are as uniquely created as snowflakes and no two are the same. That they'd be as different as they are really hadn't occured to me.
The architecture is different, the demographics are different, the preaching is different, the singing is different, the communion customs are different.
Coming from a mainly non-denominational background, I have next to no experience in a liturgical church. But today, as I sang songs I didn't know, and stood up and sat down and responded back at designated intervals, I felt oddly comfortable.
The traditions may not be mine, but the focus of it all is the same. And because the focus is the same, for today, I belonged. My God. My people.
This time of year most of all, I am so glad to be truly experiencing Luke 2:10 "...good news of great joy...for all the people."
I am glad for you; wherever you are, whatever your traditions. There is something remarkable about belonging to the same vast, diverse family. So to quote a different kind of traditional Christmas tale, "God bless us! Every one!"