Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Ones I Never Knew

I didn't have the health to attend church, and that made me feel worse than I already did. I asked The Lord to visit me in slumber since I hadn't the energy to go to His House to Worship. His touch can be just as profound behind closed lids as it can at the base of The Altar if you just ask. Dreams swept me away rather quickly that night but all I remember now is how I awoke...

We were weeping, all of us. I was at church, on a pew, next to a familiar lady and her granddaughter. I watched as one of the congregation was called to the front. I assumed he was walking to the altar and I knew who he was though I could only see a small portion of his profile. He began walking, making his way down the pew until he reached the aisle. I looked over at the lady and we were sobbing but happy for him. I reached over and hugged her. I suddenly was looking down upon her, as if I too had stood. Everyone was so happy for me too that I had been called next but just as I began to step forward, I woke. For days all I wanted was to go back, to be there again but I never could manage to get there again.

This Sunday my health was regained and I couldn't wait to walk through those glass doors. The sun warmed my skin as we drove through the Spring-like portraits for miles and miles toward that little country church. I thought of the dream and how un-finished it seemed. I knew there was more but I didn't seem to be able to complete His message to me. I was hoping today, I would find the ending.

Finally, I found my way to our favorite pew. "Mama, she's here," my child said to me. I turned to see the little blue-eyed lady walking in, stopping to greet everyone in her path. She took seat behind us as usual and just having her presence brings about a peace. She brings wisdom with her age. Her blue eyes have seen way more than mine but she humbly sits in The House of The Lord, to worship like any other sinner in that room. Meeting broke out within the first few strokes of the ivory keys. The Spirited chuckles could be heard from the man on the front pew, the one who reaches down with his right hand to touch the cross on the bottom of his pew...the son of the blue-eyed lady. Between shouts around the room, I could still hear his chuckles and then I heard the voice of another. There was more than one chuckle in that room and this time it was coming from her, the one who lives behind those blue eyes. She too chuckled a time or two in the midst of her son's voice and that brought a smile to my face. I wiped away the warm river falling from my eyes, but I was smiling at the same time.

After a Testimony, a Deacon of the church asked us what were we thankful for. I thought of all those people who used to sit on these pews but were no longer here. They are with Him now and I wouldn't wish them back for anything, but I never had a chance on this side to meet them either. I only wish I had. The husband who used to sit beside her. He knew those blue eyes better than anyone else in that room, but he is gone on, singing with The Angels. I thought of the boy, who used to sit beside his parents at one time. He left one night after a service similar to this one, but I never got to meet him. He was here too, I can feel what he did to these people, what he meant to them. His brother stood and spoke of him just after that, and I knew The Lord was pulling it all together for me. All I had to do was listen. Today, I was thankful for them, the ones I never knew.

I had all but forgot about that dream until the man in the back stood. His broken voice gained strength as he took leaps toward the front of the room. One by one he took hands and said that they could be next. He took them away from their pew and placed them up front, together. It wouldn't be long until some of us were called Home. Next Sunday, someone may be missing. Tears were rushing down my face but I knew how right he was.

The parents of the boy who once was, walked up to the front and began The Old Ship of Zion. Voices from all over the room orchestrated together and I moved my lips but sang in silence. I listened. I listened to soon to be Angels singing together. I listened to the blue-eyed lady sing every single word behind me. I knew that old ship was coming, and I just wanted to get on board.

I thought of the dream. I went back in. All week, I had wanted to go back and just like that, I was there. I realized that the man who stood before I did wasn't being called up to the church's altar. I realized when I hugged my friend, it was goodbye, and she was so happy for me. We were going by one. It was finished.

I am Blessed yet again for another Spirit filled service. He never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to what little time we all have left down here, but I really look forward to meeting the ones I never knew, and The One I'll know forever. Blessed are we at my little country church.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Music Played

Ever since that Wednesday night service, I have carried the music with me. As soon as I had sat on that pew, I was shown random things and I knew I couldn't possibly make sense of it right then, so I carried it with me. As I drove to work, as I cooked dinner, as I counted Blessings before I fell asleep, I replayed each and every little thing over and over in my mind, not because I needed to understand the meaning but because it was different, unseen to me before. The young man with the guitar, strumming in slow motion on the blond instrument...I could hear each and every chord with such intensity. I could see myself back on the pew and listening to everything with such volume and clarity. The piano sang the songs that night and everything had been played with just enough slack to fancy any ear. I left that service not sure what HE was bringing to the table for me but I had been stricken with delight as the quest began, to keep seeking HIM.

A busy week and a busy weekend tried to thieve my attention but as soon as Sunday morn knocked on my door, I remembered the music. I quickly turned the television to my favorite gospel music station and as I carried out my pre-church rituals, I heard the peculiar. I rushed quickly back to the music and stood there in silence and listened. It was just music. No words, no voices, just the song of the piano. I sang the words of the hymn with all the stillness my voice would allow, but I the music played. I knew HE was showing me something about the service that was just up ahead, and the excitement made me want to get there faster.

I tried not to run, but as I entered church it was noted I had left my family all behind in the parking lot outside. I calmed my steps and sat on the familiar pew and looked at everything. I wondered if I should request we listen to the pianist play Amazing Grace without the choir of our voices carrying it along, but that didn't seem like the answer. I knew, we could never sit through the entire song without our voices lifting in Praise so I sat patiently and wondered what was coming next. I watched the ones who play piano take their places and the hymns began. It was clear that today voices were full, voices were as intense as the music had been just days before. The feet stomped heavier and the claps were stronger. I kept quiet just to listen to the richness as HE prepared our table. A few offered broken words that spoke volumes during our Worship, everyone seemed to have come prepared...and HE led us onward.

A man, a visitor of the church walked up to the piano. A stranger with all his brawn sat meekly on the bench. He told a story and pressed the keys softly. My heart felt warm as he began to sing the words. It became clear early on, there would be no Sunday School to interrupt this Worship. As the service went on, the heightened senses, heightened awareness had all but left me. I had spent a great deal of time this week, listening. HE had made it very easy, magnifying everything. I felt my chest rising and wondered how I had kept breathing during all that. I took rest and peered out of the window. There was a brightness today and warm tears rolled off of my cheeks as I continued to listen. I could see people moving but I was captivated and glared on as HE assured me, there was something else.

I broke my focus to see a friend at The Altar, her knees bent underneath her. Her Daddy's words halted as he sang behind the piano. Her mom left those ivory keys behind her and she too, bent down in prayer. Friends and family wrapped arms around her as she wept. Another pianist walked up and placed his hands on the instrument. With everything gentle he could possibly corral, he began HIS song. Hearts melted. Tears ran in streams down the eyes of the weary when the music played. The sound of her song played softly through the church. The one she stands there and sings, with her head held high. The one that flows from her lips when she stands on two feet. The song she can sing without the lyrics printed directly in front of her eyes as she straightens her back and closes her eyes in thought. Today, she wasn't standing behind the music. Today, the music just played.

Near the end, we all stood and sang Amazing Grace. I smiled knowing HE continues to give HIS Amazing Grace. Hands up and voices lifted, HE had prepared for us this day. I am thankful to know HE has prepared for us tomorrow, and when the days run out, HE still has prepared. We are Blessed people to have felt that peace this day, and I am honored to have heard the music play.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Into the Dark

Clouds followed us from our road. With every mile, they seemed to thicken and by the time we got to church, we were engulfed completely. As I sat on my pew, I listened to the voices of the soon to be Angels...some were behind me, some were filling the left side of the church, a few sat in front of me but together, as their voices banded together in song, they all sounded Heavenly. I quietened my own voice just to listen to them. Their words were confident, assuring, and refreshing. I peered out of the frosted window but saw nothing but dense fog. It had swallowed the little country church. I tried my best to see through it. I knew the cemetery was just beyond the sidewalk but today, I couldn't see it. All I had was right in front of me...

The room seemed so clear after looking at the fog. Singers stood one by one and sang for The Lord and their words were hearty and sincere. He knew each and every heart in that room and The Spirit took a stroll in that little white church. He touched on several who spilled the love right out in front, for all to see and feel. I sat thanking Him for the drink, for my thirst had left me parched and withered. As the world keeps getting cloudy and I was thankful for clarity, thankful for vision when I don't always see...

We traveled back to that old church after a few hours of distraction. This time, the rain took our sight. It beat down heavily and the only thing keeping us from it, was a piece of glass as it darted directly towards us. Our headlights were of little use and again, we could only see what was directly in front. The closer we got to church the heavier the rain got. We had gone too far to turn back now so we traveled onward. I asked for a light, give us a light Lord to lead us in the darkened rain and I saw red tail lights just up ahead. I was thankful for the one in front leading because we've been down this road many times, but it seemed unfamiliar in the fog and the rain. Relief soon calmed me as I saw the light of the steeple just past the wet pane. The car in front, led us all the way into the parking lot. She had traveled this road many more times that I, and she confidently turned onto the glass like pavement. I smiled thanking Him because when I needed help, He sent someone to lead and they took us exactly where we needed to go.

I sat again on the same pew, looked out of the same window and saw the darkness that had wrapped around the little country church. I still couldn't see the cemetery just beyond the window but I knew it was still there. Cloud and darkness can take away vision, but I knew my way around that church. If you walk around in the darkness, chances are you could use a light. It doesn't mean there will be nothing to fall upon, nothing tripping your path but if it's easier to see the things in your way as obstacles, the light will guide you around to a better way. Those left without the light will rely on themselves. Their vision will adjust to the darkness and chances are, they'll not move forward very often, and in some cases, turn around and go backwards. Standing still might give them the comfort of not falling and I was just thankful for the light.

The brightness of the church was welcoming and clarity took over my sight once again. The warmth of the church was peaceful and the songs sounded different this night, pleasing in a different way. I sat hoping for a good message from our preacher. I didn't dare look around the room because I knew I would find disappointment in the numbers of returning sinners. I didn't want disappointment in the House of The Lord so I tried to focus on needs, their needs, what will progress us forward with fewer and fewer lights...

Truth. The preacher spoke of truth. The world can be a dark place. There won't always be hundreds of lights around you. Sometimes hundreds of lights will only make for a dim path. When things are really dark, when the world has turned away from truth and you find yourself in the unfamiliar, it only takes one light to lead. Someone out there is needing vision and if your light isn't bright enough to see through clouds, see through rain, you're nothing more than dim. Today, I want to be more than dim. As the Singer and one who Testified said in service this day, we are to lead others to Christ, that is our job. It is my job as a living Christian to be ready. We need our lights to shine. It's dark out there, and it seems to just get darker by the day. Truth will brighten your road, truth is what people need to hear and truth will lead the way. Thankful again for all of His Blessings. Lead on my friends. Don't be afraid of the rain, don't be afraid of the fog, He may lead you there to be a light for someone else.