Church going is loaded with opportunities to connect. We especially connect to each other. Each person we see regularly becomes a way for a connection that offers assurance and comfort.
These connections matter so much we even attend to the habits and comforts of those around us.
Think about those Sundays when your friends are NOT in their usual seats. Or even worse when your friend's seat is taken by someone else.
Our habits: where we sit, with whom we sit, how we come and go are formed as we connect and as we learn to respect and care for those connections. The formation of our habits is an incremental process that like a feedback loop promotes or not our connections.
Sadly for many of us the process eventually stops and we settle into routines that feel more like surviving than thriving. So it is worth it to consider that some of our connections may be calling us to unfamiliar places and people.
Most of us seldom move outside our "comfort zones" by our own choosing. Instead we are made to go when something shocks or constrains us to go: the death of a loved one whose seat is then always empty, or in a milder way the change of a liturgical practice.
Remember when the altar was tucked against the wall? Or think of how many of us are yearning for a return to the kneeling we do outside of the Easter season.
For those who have lived through these sorts of "dis-connections" we all could have a new appreciation for our comfort zones. We know to enjoy them but we can also learn to trust them as we come and go. As we grow our comfort zones can change from places to settle and stay and become more like rest stops on a long journey.
Most of you know that I have joked about telling confirmands that as soon as the Bishop lays hands on them they are eligible to pick their permanent seat in church so that God no longer has to go looking for them. So let's not forget that our connections and their comfort zones may not be easily recognizable as such and may be hard to share with a stranger.
I guess now I need a joke about how trusting AND movement can help our connections and even help our sharing of our comfort zones.
There is one about churchy types taking a friend of another denomination fishing and amazing the friend with what appears to be walking on the water? Isn't the punchline something about knowing where the rocks are?
That's a start but all of this stuff about comfort and connection really boils down to being intentional about change and adaptation, about trust and vulnerability, and about how the God to whom we hope to connect already knows where the rocks are.