Monday, March 31, 2014

The Others

The sound of the church bells caught me by surprise. We stopped the car and rolled the windows down so the children could hear them too. It was 12 o'clock on a Thursday, and for a moment, I was reminded of my purpose. That sound isn't just bells tolling, it isn't just a church where people meet on Sunday morning. It's where two or three gather in His name, and He will be there also. It's where lives are mended, lives are changed. It's where the others are.

I began praying on Saturday for our Sunday service. There are days my little family just wants to stay home, become recluse, because the world points its finger saying we aren't like everyone else. I see more of the world some days, than I do Him. The Bible tells us that seclusion isn't the answer, it's not our purpose. We look forward to Sundays because for a couple of hours, we get to see the others.

Sitting on the pew Sunday was a welcomed relief. As soon as service started, I paused to invite Him once again, to let Him know I wanted His touch, I needed His touch, as did the others. People began moving around me but I could see nothing...and still everything. Bodies moved across the floor, voices stirred the air and warm tears filled my eyes. I needed each and every word, I needed each and every song, and The Sheppard was gathering His sheep. We moved as a herd under His protection but I know the old story in The Bible. We must leave the 99 in search of the one sheep lost, if we want to be more like Him...and that is why we are here. That is our purpose. As the voices climbed, I felt my back gain strength. This is why we need the others.

I watched her roll her wheelchair down the aisle. We often step effortless without thought, but her young hands are strong, and her arms move with purpose. Disappointment fell upon her face as the next song began before she could finish her trek and she carried that back down the aisle from where she'd come. The piano lifted its voice and the Angelic new song rescued the tired and weary. When it was over, she moved again. I saw the child's wheels move across the dark blue carpet and she was handed a microphone. With damp in her eyes and courage in her heart, she raised the words, "Jesus loves me" and before the rest could escape, she dropped her head. She lifted it again a little stronger than before and sang, "Jesus loves me this I know." Her little head fell again but each time she raised it a little more determined than before. Pretty soon, the whole church sang with her and she has no idea what she gave us this day.

The preaching was intense, capturing even the inattentive. Everything was falling into place as we were all in one mind, one accord. I had walked through the glass doors that morning, not intending to return that night. But something changed, we sat with the others.

to be continued...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Be in The Son

I looked out of the window and everything seemed crisp. As the car's tires rolled over wet pavement, advancing us to that little country church, I noticed the shiver of the woods around us. "The trees look cold," I said. Silence followed as everyone looked out of the windows at tall, mostly bare trees with nothing but marsh land pressing down on their roots. I knew they needed the sun and I knew The Spirit would visit soon because I could see everything. I was being prepared for something.

As the first song began, one ran to the front, falling upon her knees. Many raced to follow her there and the sinners began to pray. I watched as the tiny hand of a kindergarten child pointed to the words in each and every verse, for her mama to follow. My eyes teared as I knew that one day, her knuckles would no longer dimple and life would thicken her palms but for now, youth led her fingertips across the verses. I sang along in wonder, if we'd even have Sunday School.

We did depart the Sanctuary of Worship and steps led me down to my class where eager babies and toddlers awaited. The room was busy with bright little minds and I saw a pair of familiar blues looking back at me. It was the Song Director's child. I looked around the room at the life within those four walls and I realized I have them now. I may have a little Song Director, I may have some future angelic singers and I may have the ones who will Praise. I have them before life gets too hard, I have them before they are battered by the rain, I have them before it's too dark to see.

The oldest of my seven patiently waited at the end of class for her turn to sing. At age four she writes her own songs as her voice leaves her lips. Very lightly she began to sway side to side and lift the corners of her dress as she began, "The clouds will follow you...the clouds are everywhere...clouds can follow you, or you can follow clouds..." She continued her song which brought a smile to my face because how right she was. Life gets cloudy at times, fog creeps down on us all but we can chase after clouds or we can lead them. If the clouds are behind us, we must be in the sun [Son] and that is where I want to be. The Lord was with us this morning, and that always feels good.

We returned for Worship Service and with the first song, came the sun. The room lit brightly and again, I could see everything. The church was flooded quickly. A child sat by his grandmother as she played the piano. His eyes were as blue as the sea as his freckles graced his nose. He looked just like his sweet little mother as he sat up there mouthing the final words to the old gospel hymn. I was shown age within youth, and it was a relief. Knowing that one was going to be good, and that one would be okay too, and so on. Parents sitting with their children everywhere, the babies, the youth, the young and the aged.

Soon, a simple song request, turned into a one of the prettiest portraits ever painted of Heaven from down here on Earth. Two that had stood at the piano, soon became three as a brother was called up. This brother is the son of the blue-eyed lady who sits behind me. This brother that normally sits on the front pew but today, he was called to the front by his own sister and brother-in-law. Claiming to be a non-singer, He went over to the piano anyway because The Spirit was leading, and he needed to follow. He was given some paint, and he too stroked the canvas so we all could see...and it was beautiful. Back and forth the two preachers spoke HIS word. The son of the blue-eyed lady would speak scriptures as the other preacher spoke, just like his Mama does. I could see her behind his eyes, I knew there was a time, when he held a song book in his hands, and pointed to the words for his Mama to follow along too.

They tried to begin a song but before they could even complete a note, his face changed. This brother, this father, this grandfather, was seeing something we couldn't from our pews. He was watching the face of his own grandson, walking up to The Altar. When the child made it, he fell to his knees and was surrounded quickly with blankets of prayer. Heads bowed from The Altar to the pews and all the sinners prayed.

I can't imagine what HE has in store for us tonight, but we'll all be a little closer to Heaven than we were this morning...and that feels good. We can go chasing the clouds, or we can walk in The Son. I choose to be in The Son. Thankful for His Blessings today.