"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Killing Worship

I've both heard and read recently that worship ought to kill us. But really now, how many of us truly experience that kind of worship on a normal Sunday morning?

I've been in need of a little different kind of worship lately myself -- not that I was looking for a death experience or anything, but just something that would stir me a little; fill a void maybe. And so I got up early Sunday morning and traveled up the road a piece to make an 8:45 service in another town. And what I discovered was far more than what I was expecting or anticipating. Now I must admit, the preaching was by far my favorite part. In fact, I was a blubbering fool throughout it. But the "preliminaries," for lack of a better term, started the whole ball of wax rolling.

The acolyte, for instance. If one was looking for decorum, he wouldn't discover it here. The little fellow swayed back and forth, jumped down the steps from the altar, and fidgeted the entire time he was standing. All I could think was, "O God, how You must delight in the activity of this child! I praise You!!!" And then I watched the face of Bob the Tomato as "she" swayed back and forth with her eyes closed entering into a worship that was far, far beyond her young years. And if that wasn't enough, they even sang my favorite hymn, just as if they knew I was going to be there! "Come, Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise..." The Gloria Patri, the Lord's prayer. I was even able to make a bold affirmation of my faith. Yes, it was just about to kill me.

And then the choir stood to sing and the knife was raised. Because this was the early service, the Genesis Choir -- a choir made up of mostly senior adults -- filled the loft , and with the first chords of the piano, I knew what was to follow. "Shackled by a heavy burden; 'neath a load of guilt and shame. Then the Hand of Jesus touched me, and now I am no longer the same." Tears began welling even larger in my eyes, but nothing compared to when I looked and saw the very elderly gentleman seated to my left. I had noticed him earlier because of his inability to stand while the rest of us did. He just kept his place on the pew. But at this moment, his head was thrown back, his eyes were closed, and both of his feeble arms were raised to the sky. I heard the words of those singing but I could barely take my eyes off of him. It was pure, unadulterated worship. And when the choir sang its last note and silence fell upon the sanctuary, from the lips of that one whom Jesus had no doubt touched on so many occasions came the resplendent shout, "Glory to God!"

Yes! Just slay me.

An ordinary moment...

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