For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20
I can remember going to church as a kid and counting tiles on the ceiling. We didn’t go to church very often and I couldn’t tell you why those tiles appealed to me so much. Nevertheless, it was a perfect ruse for not paying attention. It makes me giggle a little because I probably looked quite angelic staring off into space like that. I imagine that my head was tilted just so that any onlooker might think that I was lost in prayer or in some kind of deep conversation with God. In reality it was simply–one, two, three, and did I count that one already?
Today I can tell you that I truly look forward to Sundays and attending church. I rush around trying to get myself ready, tame my son’s bed head, and fight with my little girl about clothing options (and she’s just in grade school!) Every clock in the house flashes a different time (maddening really) and I rally the troops with coffee and breakfast in hand…then it’s out the door we go. It’s comical because I go to church for a lot of reasons, but at that particular moment every Sunday morning all I can think about is that when I get to church I can finally REST!
So, this morning I was sitting in my usual pew feeling quite good. I had just received communion, the organ played in the background and I was at REST. Then, all of a sudden, the REST was over and I found myself counting! No, I wasn’t staring at the ceiling or counting tiles, instead I was counting blessings. I was watching as each member of the congregation came forward for communion. My counting began with a memory of the first time I met this person, the kindness of that person, the loss that this other person had recently experienced. My heart counted children whom I’ve come to know and love in our church, their parents who have become my friends, and a woman who will soon have a baby. I counted the people who have joined the church in the almost three years we have served here. I counted people who have been at this church for years and years and who will continue to worship here long after we’re called to serve elsewhere. My counting included those who faithfully serve the church each Sunday…ushers, communion stewards, and musicians. I counted staff and their families who attend worship each week. And when the moment passed, I felt more than REST…I felt true peace. The funny thing was at the end of all my counting I didn’t have a number. I couldn’t tell you how many people received communion that morning (and of course, that number was completely irrelevant.) I was left only with that warm feeling that fills my spirit every Sunday…and I will happily count on that!
Faithful attendance at Church meetings brings blessings you can receive in no other way. –Ezra Taft Benson