I went to Temple Beth -el in New London today because my daughter was dancing in their Annual Luncheon for Senior Citizens in the region. I believe this is the eighth year the girls have been part of this wonderful day. It includes a chicken dinner cooked up by Jerry Fisher and the men of the congregation and some entertainment.
As I drove up to drop off my youngest daughter, memories of the very first time I visited the synagogue came back to me. Rachel's older sister, Sarah, was in her first year as a member of Style Extraordinaire. This was our first official event. I remember being just as nervous as Sarah was as we drove up. She saw one of her friends and suddenly everything was alright.
Sarah danced with Luis Pabon and the troupe for over six years and it was one of the best things in her life. The dancing was great but I think the friendships and experiences were what really made it special.
I think the same can be said of our life in the church as well. Sunday to Sunday may be very good at the church we attend but it really is the friendships that we forge, the relationships we establish that provide the real joy for the journey. Just as Sarah felt welcome in a strange new place when she saw her friends, our friends help us deepen and grow in our faith.
So don't just go to church. Be the church. Welcome those who sit next to you each week. Get to know the other members of the congregation. Take advantage of social gatherings and Bible and book studies that are offered. Help out on a clean up day or work on a fund raiser or outreach project. If you do, I can assure you that this will be the time of your life.