This Sunday I went to church for the first time in my new hometown, Washington DC. I am seeking a church that is small, bible-based, socially progressive, strong community outreach, and close to home. While in the past I have retaliated against the idea of “shopping” for a church, I had to start somewhere. So I put together my ideas on where I’d be comfortable and the most engaged with worship, and started searching for such a church.
I ended up at a service with around 400 attendees, and no mention of smaller groups offered throughout the week besides youth group. The message was progressive (“…beyond wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there,” and “Love is that field”), rooted in poetry, but not scripture. There was evidence of a really strong outreach to the community. Not only that, but the diversity of the congregation was astounding – though very much unified by the evident joy of worship. It seemed like every person attending absolutely wanted to be there – no heel-draggers at all.
My assessment is this: it was a good start, and I’m hopeful. A little weirded out that God wasn’t made mention of in the sermon. So I may not spend much time getting invested at this place. Why hopeful, then?
I just can’t forget just how happy people were during worship. The hope that such joy gives me extends beyond my excitement to find a church home. It makes me feel like there are people out there who feel like I do, even if our actions/expressions differ. I don’t have to raise my hands, I don’t have to jump, I don’t have to sing (even though some were) – I only invite God’s presence and let reverence and joy be my response.