Why I Go to Church on Sunday, Especially When I Don’t Want To

Post Author: Collette Broady Grund

When #realclergybios went viral, I immediately thought, that’s what Fidelia’s "Here I Stand" column is. What are your personal convictions (good or bad) around which ministry happens anyway? Collette graciously shares how God transforms her Sundays every week.



“Every Sunday morning I wake up not wanting to go to church. By noon, I’ve come face-to-face with the holy and I’m humbled.” #realclergybios

I wrote that tweet back in January, but it nicely sums up my pastoral experience of the last 12 years. When my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings, my first thought is always “already?!” followed closely by “who decided that church needed to be at 8:15?” and “I hate being a pastor!” Mornings have always been my least favorite time of day, and, as an introvert, having to cheerfully greet hundreds of people always fills me with dread.

Thus the waking up every single Sunday morning not wanting to go to church. The only thing that gets me out of bed on Sundays is obligation, to be where I’ve said I would be, with the people who are counting on me to show up. So I get up and I go.

And every single Sunday, by the time I’ve worshipped with God’s people at early and late services and taught children in between, my inner grouch has been transformed by an encounter with the divine. For at least one shining moment between 8:15 and noon, God’s radiance overwhelms me and I’m left with only gratitude.

Sometimes it’s the liturgy, when the age-old words speak fresh hope to my current situation. Sometimes it’s the worship space, when sunbeams spotlight the wine and the bread from the skylight above the altar. Sometimes it’s the sermon my colleague preaches, which I could swear he wrote just for me. But most often, it’s the people, God’s children big and small, who bring me face-to-face with the holy.

It’s Maria, whose hands and voice rise in praise, even though it’s neither Lutheran nor comfortable for her family. It’s Christine, who plays each verse of a hymn differently, so that when we sing “you’ll hear the trumpet sound,” trumpet voices burst forth from the pipe organ. It’s Mike and Marie, who invite my son to sit in their pew as if he were one of their own children. It’s 4-year-old Walter, who veritably bounces down the aisle to receive his blessing at communion time. “You are a child of God,” I say, and he replies, “Yes!” as if this is the best news he’s ever heard. It’s hundreds of others, who pried themselves out of bed when they weren’t obligated to do so, who join me in reading and listening, singing and praying.

Every Sunday, when those holy moments open up, I remember why I get up and go to church. It’s not because I have to be there; it’s because I need to be there. I need to be reminded that the God into whose service I am called is living and active, breathing joy and life and love through her people. I need to be reminded that the promises we proclaim are already being fulfilled. I need to be reminded that when I choose to simply show up, God shows up too.

Collette Broady Grund lives in Mankato, Minnesota with her husband, their four children and two dogs, in all of whom God regularly shows up. She serves Bethlehem Lutheran Church as associate pastor and interim Children's Ministry director.

Image by: Moyen Brenn
Used with permission
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