Monday, February 28, 2011

linger pondering for today...

I remember yesterday...

Sunday begins with worship, yes, as everyday. But Sundays are different. Cooperate worship brings the faithful (and some unfaithful) into the chapels, churches, cathedrals all over the world. Church bells ring, choirs voice songs of tradition and contemporary. Stringed instruments sing, trumpets praise, percussion beats with heart keeping time with shouts and whispers. I lift hands and tilt head upward, fall on repentant knees, and bow in honor of the One and Only, God. I listen to those standing close voice their praise, like me, not always in perfect key, but raised to the One Who hears all beauty in a sincere heart.

I keep my eyes closed...

The worship leader shouts directive, interrupting, "Now, sing!" I wonder, who is she shouting to? Does she see lips unmoving, hearts unstirred?

I open my own eyes.

Music continues...LIghts dim and lift in color keeping rhythm with the piano keys. Screens portray pictures that reach for my attention. And I watch for clues of music direction. I see all smiles, all joy. All sway to movement of (worship?) Distracted.

I close my eyes again...

I wonder about the Cross. The rough hewn wood, the thorn crown, the blood shed. The flesh torn, unrecognized. Death. And I remember the Resurrection, the raising by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit Who lives and moves freely in me (and in millions of others who have surrendered lives to our risen Christ). And I wonder... What does all of this really mean. Am I living the essence of Truth?

Musical notes ebb and flow, and they are beautiful. Yet I ponder still. Is the new "cross" opposed to authentic worship? Is the Cross, the rough-hewn splintered wood lifted with Jesus remembered in the new worship? I wonder, is this all show? Do I understand that the message of the Cross sometimes makes unpleasant demands of me? The Cross slays completely, all of me.

Abrupt end to song opens my eyes... The congregation sits comfortable.

Announcements come, brusque to my hearing. "I will be teaching a new Bible study..." I cringe. "My ministry..." I swallow hard. Words from one so human. And I remember my own words past, similar, but shaken through the years. The Cross demands more. The Cross Jesus suffered on, the Cross of Sacrifice for all, for me... The rough-hewn splintered wood does not run parallel, but intersects at the very heart of the One who loves deep and eternal. This intersection changes the course of humanity, if we allow it. It is abrupt. It is good.

The gathering of believers ends and with eyes wide open now, I exit the house and give thanks. Today, the message of the man is outweighed by the Message of the Son of Man. I linger, even in the busyness of the day to come, with this pondering. And slips of tears warm my face throughout the day, I laugh, I smile, I work, I eat, I hug, I dance. I love this Sunday, all. It is full of family. And it is full of Truth and Light.


Michelle said...

Since I have a son who leads worship, I understand the unique frustration of a congregation not singing during worship songs... nevertheless, the "Sing" command sounds like it was a mite harsh and ill-timed.
Your thoughts of the cross and the intersection of faith and splintered wood is an excellent word picture. "The rough-hewn splintered wood does not run parallel, but intersects at the very heart of the One who loves deep and eternal. This intersection changes the course of humanity, if we allow it. It is abrupt. It is good."
Amen, my friend. It is indeed very good.

Sharen Watson said...

Michelle. I wonder if I can offer encouragement for your sweet son. (I still can't believe our kids are all grown up).

Sometimes, I'll look at my husband during the singing portion of the worship service, particularly if he's not singing. He has an amazing voice and keeps me somewhat in tune, so when he's not singing I wonder why. In those quiet moments, he's listening to the words, letting the impact of them soak in. And sometimes, he tells me, he's trying to understand exactly what message he's singing. He wants all his words to be sincere, and won't sing anything he can't sincerely say. Still, I'm happy when he joins me again.

That's just one of a dozen or so reasons I can think of, besides being completely distracted (and even a distraction) during the song and praise part of the service.

And THANK YOU for your kind words regarding the word picture I was trying to portray in this post. Your encouragement is welcome and received with a humble heart. From my heart of gratitude to you... God bless you and your precious family.