Sunday morning in Berlin

Berliner dom

Sunday mornings are weird mornings for me. For years and years, Sunday mornings were my big work mornings and this was after years and years of Sunday mornings being full of church things…as an intern, committee member, active youth, regular attender, etc.  Sunday mornings were about getting up and getting going.

And when I was in the pulpit, leading a community, Sunday morning was about getting up way before the sun did, getting ready and heading out the door to be in the church the max amount of hours.  I love being in the church before everything gets going. I would wander through the pews praying and blessing over where people were coming t worship. I would pray for individuals and that the experience of worship might feel as though something important and intentional was happening.

I would then go to my office, coffee in hand to go through my notes again, practice some parts and prepare my very center for in a few hours the chaos joins in.

My last year before leave was totally different though because I wasn’t working for a Sunday morning congregation so I got to do lots of pulpit supply and exploring churches. For different reasons, I loved this as well.  That is a blog post for another day. The preparation was a bit different but each Sunday morning was pretty full.

Then I moved to Berlin.  Sunday morning is a whole other thing at this point. While there are churches around, it is different. Church is not much of an influence here. When I do go to church I go to a certain church but it has struck me recently that if I don’t want to go to church, I don’t have to. No one seems to comment. No one really expects me there.  When I go I am warmly greeted but more and more I realize that my want to go is simply not there.  The reason I may want to go is out of feeling obligated which never is how I want to attend church if I am honest.  The people are lovely but it feels a bit like we just miss it…whatever it is.  I understand so much more clearly why people don’t go to church. In this culture and probably in US culture too I was just in a different role, there are so many other options and while we value community in the church life, there is community all around us as well.  Today I just didn’t go after much thought. I would much rather this morning sit with my pups and my coffee and pray and write and connect with people.  That is real and true this morning. I have another opportunity to go this afternoon but I sit here weighing the pros and cons of going.

I also could go explore other churches but for the first time in my life I realize how intimidating it is to check out new churches alone (and in a foreign language). What if someone tries to talk to me?  What if I don’t understand? Plus to look up churches and times, etc. It can get exhausting.

I have been trying to find spaces to worship other times…a labyrinth, a center, a mid afternoon service and they don’t seem to exist where I am looking….

It is a weird place to be in and an insightful one.  I also am realizing as I start a new little community that this is what I am facing as well.  This week we are to gather and already the texts are streaming in about other plans that take up space way before church does.  And I get it and I have made a policy for myself that says that since I am a volunteer I won’t lead a whole experience unless I have 5 100 percent committed people willing to show up.

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know that there is one but I feel this tension in myself and if I feel it, what do others feel?

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