Why are we having a hard time feeling settled in church here? It’s the question we are asking every Sunday after church. We’ve been to the same church for five Sundays or so. We’ve had lunch with the pastor. The cheesedoodle doesn’t go apoplectic in tears when I leave him in nursery any more. We are getting to know people, and meeting new people. Our next door neighbors go to the same church, and we love them. So why are we still feeling odd about it?
At first we thought it was because we left behind a church that we loved so much. That may be a bit of it.
Then we thought it was because of the size of the church. Despite being small for St. Louis, it’s larger than any church in which we’ve been involved – both separately and together. That may be a small part.
We’ve been in five churches in our marriage and in every one we’ve been unique. In three Jonathan was on staff. In three we were the only foreigners in the church. We’ve been “the infertile couple”, “those Canadians”, “the guy who used to work at a church”, “the ones who want to go to seminary.” In one church Jonathan was the only ordained man. We’ve always been special. There’s been a spot for us and we liked that.
It is humbling, and I think good for us, to realize that we’re not as unique as we think we are.
No matter where we go here, we’re pretty mundane. Most of the guys at Covenant have been on staff with some church or parachurch organization. Not only are we not the only foreigners, we’re not even the only Canadians. We walk through the doors of any church with our boy and our girl, and we look like average, middle America, suburban seminarians. There are thousands of people just like us in this city and some of them can be found in any PCA church you care to name.
The fact is, we’re now in a much bigger pond, realizing that we’re smaller fish than we thought we were. It’s a good lesson. It’s the first of many good lessons. I know we’ll find a place and a niche here in which to serve and use our gifts and benefit the body of Christ. I know that we will benefit from the searching out and finding of that place, rather than having it handed to us with fanfare and thanksgiving.
Here’s to going deeper in our bigger pond.