Sometimes I feel guilty when I go to church.
I feel guilty because I never fail to come late. For as long as I can think back on, I have been showing up at 10 o'clock sharp every Sunday... when service starts at 9:30. I always avoid the ushers, hang my head low, and sneak into the back. It's ironic, because I do these things to slip by unnoticed, but they are signs of shame that can be spotted a mile away.
I feel guilty because I'm not a good listener. I try to take notes, but I occasionally doze off. Listening to sermons sometimes feels the same way my skin does when I put too much lotion on. The words just hang on the surface. They're there, trying to stick to you, but they don't soak in.
I feel guilty because I get half an hour every Sunday morning to love on my friends, but I use it to make small talk. I tell people I am doing well, even if I'm not, and that I am tired because of school. I smile and hug, and I am with people but not really.
I feel guilty because I don't do enough. I don't go to Sunday School or prayer meeting or Alpha or 3D. I don't serve in any way, shape or form at church. And these are things that everyone tells me I should be doing.
I feel guilty because I believe that church should change people; that there should be a noticeable shift in the way you live your life because you spend those few hours every week trying to seek something greater than yourself. I believe going to church should be powerful and that it should challenge us. But I sometimes treat it with a passive heart and sink into the comfort that the walls provide me.
I feel guilty because I sometimes see the church as a building made of words and songs. But really, I think churches should be made of broken glass so people will alway be able to see light wherever they go and be reminded that this is the one place where brokenness has no place to hide. I guess that's why stained glass windows exist.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I go to church, but then I am reminded that the God I serve is not a God of guilt. I am reminded that there is no such thing as the perfect church or the perfect church goer, and even if I was a perfect church goer who went to a perfect church, that would not be enough anyways. I am reminded that before I even felt this guilt, I was forgiven. And although this is no excuse for apathy and passive church-going, this is an excuse to believe that there is no place for guilt or shame in my life and in the church.