Worship, Resiliency, Familiarity

This is part of the series How Worship Contributes to Resiliency.

Restoring Feelings of Familiarity

For those who attend church regularly, the hymns, prayers and actions of Christian worship become so familiar that you can perform them without much thought. Some people think that’s a bug; I think it’s a feature. War and other traumatic experiences rob people of their sense of normality. Returning to worship feels like walking back into my house at the end of a long deployment.

Church feels like home, and the familiar rituals of worship are as comfortable as a favorite pair of jeans. For those of us who move frequently, rituals are especially important. My children tell me it was our family rituals at Christmas and Thanksgiving that provided them with the feeling of “home” as we moved from place to place during my military career. Christian worship does that for me. I took some time off during my seminary education to visit my parents and travel in Europe. As an introvert and a homebody, everything felt “foreign” to me and the experience left me disoriented. I needed to do something to restore my sense of normalcy, so I boarded a train and headed across the continent just so that I could attend an English-language worship service.