I was just having a conversation with an older woman regarding religion, faith, and the importance of it in family lives. We both agreed that families need to get back to attending church together regularly, rather than just on the few holidays or not at all.
There are numerous reasons why faith and participation in church services and functions is important, but at the core of it is really because in the end, it is all that matters.
When my parents passed away, they both were very accepting of their deaths, because of their faith. I also knew that they were going to their final home, just as the song, “Amazing Grace,” reveals so eloquently in its beautiful verses; “Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
We know that a feeling of belonging increases children’s (and adults’) self-esteem and helps keep children focused. What better community to be involved in than a church community? Attending church also brings fellowship. Going regularly to church creates a sense of belonging and fellowship and family a fellowship of other families.
Growing up, attending church as a family was a regular part of my life. We attended church and Sunday school each Sunday, participated in youth group, Christmas programs, youth church choir, and many other church functions, including family fun nights.
My older sisters even tell of one Sunday morning trip to church when they and my parents got to church a tad late, parked in the parking lot and when my sister opened the car door another family arrived late and as they parked next to our car, they took our car door right off (luckily no one was hurt).
The point of the story: my father did not get everyone back in the car to drive home or try to fix the door on the spot, he just told everyone to get into church for the service, and they did, including my father. Church was important to our family.
Church remains important in my own family. Attending church with my husband and children, sitting next to one another in this safe, faith united environment is so humbling to me. It helps put everything back into perspective. It reminds us not to be swept away by things of the world, including daily stress. Attending church is a conscious break from all of this, and it is a reminder of what is most important.
My church is a family to me. Church is really made up of the people. Family supports one another, cries together, and laughs together. We learn from others and their struggles. We pray for one another in time of need and in time of celebration. We work together at church soup suppers, pancake breakfasts, and Sunday school carnivals.
This will always remain with me. When my father was dying in the nursing home, he was surrounded by our family and our pastor. We were sharing stories of him, including the story of the car door mentioned above. Our pastor heartfully said that the most important task or moments of being a pastor is when one of his congregants is passing away. This is what it is about. No longer would my father be here on Earth, but he now would be entering everlasting Life.