My home church planned a night of worship – only it wasn’t just a night of worship. It was so much more. I anticipated it and helped with preparation in small ways. Mainly, God prepared me in the days leading up to it. I began to lean forward. I anticipated serving. I prayed for those involved in leadership as well as those who would be in the room. I also prayed for people who might need an attitude check about the evening, whether they experienced it personally or not. (Because, you know, even we church people can get judgy and temperamental and throw little fits when things aren’t the way we expect or prefer. )
I peeked into practice. I ordered food to help people volunteering their time feel cared for. I greeted people as they arrived and chatted as I hung up their coats. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in months and met others who had come with friends.
And that was all before the evening technically began.
But the night of worship wasn’t about a night; it was about worship. And worship seeps outside of the expected time frame. It becomes its own time frame. As I stood in the dimly lit room that night, I felt cleansing tears roll down my cheeks, purging me of stuff inside me that I needed to release. I felt a heaviness fill the room – a wonderful, freeing heaviness as if God was soaking into every space. I felt connected to people in the room, prompted by compassion, burdens, and joy even when I had no idea what someone might be thinking about or processing at the time.
There are moments I experienced through singing, teaching, prayer, and communion that I can’t capture with words, but “abundant” seems to capture it all best.
Following the service, worship continued. I tried to connect with several people God seemed to be placing in my foreground. I expressed gratitude to several people who had sacrificed significant time to lead and serve. I asked several people to help rearrange some things in preparation for the upcoming Sunday. And I stood back for a moment and watched. People were connecting with each other, hanging out just a bit longer than usual, soaking in the experience of spending the evening together with God. A small group of us closed the door of the prayer room to support a friend. And worship continued. It continued as three of us turned off the lights and left the building. God had coated everything in a sparkling, soft snow. It was as if every glimmer of snow danced in worship. And more flakes added to the dance.
The man who had coordinated the night of worship cleaned off our remaining three cars before we all drove away that night. Yet another act of worship.
A drove home with a deep sigh in my soul.