Saturday, November 21, 2009
Worship @ the Y
I'm in a group called, "reGENeration." Meeting every other Wednesday, together we're studying a book called "Crazy Love" by pastor/author Francis Chan. It's a great book challenging us in our love relationship with God.
The other Wednesday night, in a video segment of our study, Francis shared a moment when he really encountered Jesus; when he was overwhelmed with his love of God. He happened to be in Israel, at the sight believed to be where Jesus prayed to God the Father in Gethsemane, the night before he was crucified. Amazing...But, then Francis said he later came to the realization that God is not confined to those places, and he didn't want to be the kind of worshiper who's only moved in extraordinary situations. He wanted to be sensitive to the presence and majesty of God in the every day. The video ended with Francis posing the question, "Can you recall a time when you were face-to-face with your love of God?"
Here's my answer...
When I work out at the YMCA, I always either listen to an iPod, or read a book. There have been several times when a song has moved me emotionally and spiritually, and I am weepy while on the leg press or the fly machine. (Maybe people just thought I was in, "No pain, no gain" mode.) But, there was one moment I experienced at the Y that was so deeply worshipful for me, I will never forget it.
Allow me to set the scene...I'm on an eliptical machine. It is approximately 7pm-ish on a weekday--so the YMCA Fitness Center is hopping. I'm about 20 minutes into my session, reading "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. (*For more info on this book see my blog from February titled "Shack Attack!") Suddenly, I read into a scene of the book saturated with so much emotional and spiritual significance for me that I am literally overcome. Tears are pouring down my cheeks, unabashedly, dropping all over the book and the controls of the eliptical. Though you need to read the entire book--or at least the specific chapter--to fully grasp the power of this passage, I would like to share with you the segment that broke me in that moment...
"...And, then, Mack saw the lights. Single moving points emerging from the forest, converging upon the meadow. As [Mack came] into the meadow, [he saw] an army of [people]. There were no candles--they themselves were lights [and colors]. And, within their own radiance, each was dressed in distinctive garbs that Mack imagined represented every tribe and tongue...These were the children of the earth, [God's] children...Little bursts of fire and light ignited when they would [laugh] or whisper. Even though Mack had no idea what was going on, they obviously did, and the anticipation was almost too much for them...[Then], a hush descended. The anticipation was palpable. Suddenly, to their right, from out of the darkness emerged Jesus, and pandemonium broke out. He was dressed in a simple brilliant white garment and wore on His head a simple gold crown, but He was every inch the king of the universe...He walked the path that opened before Him into the center--the center of all Creation, the man who is God and the God who is man. Light and color danced and wove a tapestry of love for Him to step on. Some [people] were crying out words of love, while others simply stood with hands lifted up. Many of those whose colors were the richest and deepest were lying flat on their faces. Everything that had breath sang out a song of unending love and faithfulness. Tonight,the universe was as it was intended."
As I read those paragraphs, in my every day moment, I came face-to-face with my love of God; my NEED to worship Jesus. Just as the worshipers in the story, my adoration was all-consuming, and it had to be expressed. I felt as though--even on the eliptical--the ground on which I stood was holy. And, I must, MUST worship. So, there, in the YMCA, I stepped off the machine and fell on my face, on the floor--crying, my soul and spirit praising the Lord. It was a powerful experience with God that day. Unashamed. Uninhibited. Fully engaged.
Oh what a world it would be if we worshiped God with the passion and freedom He deserves!...Oh what a world it would be if pandemonium broke out at the name of Jesus!...Oh what a world it would be if everything that has breath sang out a song of worship to the Almighty God!
The Bible tells us that one day, "at the name of Jesus every knee will bow...and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!" Let's start today!