When I think of church and my relationship with it, I think of a connection that is beyond any sensory experience. I feel directly tapped in to an energy that is exemplified by a collective of individuals who are all working in unison to elevate the ultimate spiritual output, love. I feel safe, I feel vulnerable, I feel ready and willing to receive the gift of words and the pictures they paint in my mind and heart as I sit or stand and listen to them in the rhythm of song or cadence of articulated speech. I feel connected to the unseen yet the ever present. I can feel the creator holding my spirit as my mom carefully cradles my heart. There’s always something magical that transpires when I walk through the doors of that big white building on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea. Some mornings I walk in with my head held low and yet I always seem to walk out with it held high.

Church has been one of the hubs of love for me over the last eight months and it was almost instinctual for me find my way to Mosaic when my mom passed. Although my spiritual journey has been, and still is, a very personal one, pastor Erwin’s words was like a light shining into the darkness within me during the transitionary phase of my life. I like to think of it as my rebirth into the me that I always dreamed of becoming. The new and improved Danny 2.0 that lives abundantly through is heart rather than through all of his insecurities and deficits. During the pandemic, I would spend Sundays with my mom listening to pastor Erwin’s messages via live-stream. We would sit at the table and drink coffee and then have a conversation about the message we just heard. One day my mom looked over at me in such a tender way that I don’t think she ever looked at me before. She was filled with joy that her son who never really knew God, finally took his hand. My mom would always pray for me to find my way home to the Creator, and when I did, she rejoiced. My moms relationship with God was ironclad. It was impenetrable and no matter what life threw at her, she always knew there was something bigger that loved her unconditionally. It was a truly beautiful thing to witness. When I went through my moms bibles and journals, there were so many hand written notes to God. She would tell him all the time how much she loved him and how she doesn’t feel alone in the fight of life. 

To me church isn’t a space, a building or even a group of people. It’s a feeling I get and a vivid reminder of my mom. It’s an internal experience and a connection to a narrator who is merely using their skillset of language to interpret complex messages and disperse them in a impactful yet simplistic way. These messages are transmitted from the source above and sent directly to the heart behind the podium. What a gift. Sometimes I wonder if God was to talk to me, I mean really sit me down and have a conversation with me using common language, would I even be able to understand him? I don’t know if I’m that advanced, which leads me to believe that’s why the Creator shows me his love through actions. When I want to stop, something keep pushes me forward. When I feel like life is against me, something clears a path to a new perspective or opportunity. When I feel useless, something shows me reminders of all that I’ve done, which reinvigorates my fire for all that I’m going to do. When I feel unworthy of being loved, something enters my heart and tells me I’m loved beyond comprehension. When I feel low and alone, something moves the clouds and allows me to feel the warmth of the sun. How can I ever be alone or unloved when there’s something working within me, through me, and for me – every day and in every way.

I feel like I just need to express this here – my relationship with God, Creator, Universe, whatever you wish to call it, is my own. Everyone has their thing and I honor that. I will never try to sell you on religion. I also don’t think that you need to go to church to be a “good Christian” or have a spiritual relationship. To me church is a place people go when they are seeking something (love, connection, fulfillment, acknowledgment, forgiveness, community, etc) they’re lacking in their life. Church is a physical space, and it’s a beautiful one at that. It serves a wonderful purpose and offers so much to those who seek it. But to me, and from what I’ve experienced on my own spiritual journey is this –  the true access point to be in the presence of the Higher Power is through your heart. You don’t have to go outside to dance with God, you dance with him within you.