Why St. Andrew’s is Truly My Church HOME

Pancakes and Pajama Day is a day my girls ask about all year – when will we do it again? It’s an easy morning for getting ready, no doubt, but to me it symbolizes so much more.  It’s walking into God’s House, hair in a messy bun, slippers on, sleep barely wiped out of our eyes and being fed. It’s having our brothers in Christ in the kitchen, flipping pancakes; it’s all the little ones sneaking extra chocolate chips and stealing last bites from each other; it’s all my Christ-sisters catching up on our week while we refill milks and clean up spills. It’s just like any other family meal because this is my family.

While we may not have the most elaborate sanctuary or the ability to sing most of the songs in the Hymnal on key, I think in many ways we have it figured out so much better. St. Andrew’s is home. St. Andrew’s is family. When I come in on a Wednesday evening for dinner and compline, my family is there to greet me and help me shrug off a bad day at the office. Any given Sunday can have me stifling laughter or wiping away tears and no matter which it is, my St. Andrew’s brothers and sisters are there with an arm around my shoulder – both literally and figuratively.

St. Andrew’s – our little church in the Bluff – is the only place where I feel I can truly lay it all down at his feet. I feel that way because he is truly there – not in some ornate decoration, but in the flesh – in each and every one of my siblings in Christ who, when they see me burdened, like Simon of Cyrene, pick up the cross on my back and carry it part of the way for me.

Like any family, we play together, pray together, laugh together and work together. And while we may be small in numbers, I have seen miraculous things happen when we simply agree to all show up and give it a go. Vacation Bible School is the most recent example. We didn’t have rehearsed actors, we didn’t have a fancy PA system or power point. What we had were families, families who were family, who came together, who broke bread, who made joyful noises, and who cared more about the fellowship and the joy of the worship, than what things were “supposed to be.” It was less about the plan and more about the presence – of each other and of Christ.

In many ways I see our church as a microcosm of Jesus’ own disciples. He surrounded himself with fishermen (we have a few of those), a tax collector, a doctor, and a zealot, among others. They were a rag-a-tag team, with no vision statement or growth plan. They denied Jesus and ran when the going got tough; they sold him out; they questioned him. But, for the most part, what mattered about their ministry is they showed up. They didn’t always (or usually ever) know how or why or when or even what – they only knew who and who was Jesus. So they showed up; and often against their own better judgment, they followed and in doing so they spread the Word of God and started the Christian church.

My St. Andrew’s family has got “showing up” down. We are as rag-a-tag a team as Jesus had – we are his team. We are builders and bikers, teachers and tinkerers, lawyers and artists and everything in between. I’m so thankful to have been embraced by this family, to have grown up as an adult there, and to be raising my own children there. I’m happy we have a Peace that doesn’t end until every neck is hugged or hand is embraced. I’m so thankful to have a place I can go and just be – no expectations – and be met right where I am and fed just what I need (literally and figuratively). At St. Andrew’s I am truly among the Saints of God and as the hymn goes, “I want to be one too.”

by Somer Brown