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What it Feels like to Worship

What it Feels like to Worship

Originally published on 9-15-13

Sunday Morning

It’s 9:58 AM and I’m just getting to church for the 10am service.  I’m dressed in a pink tweed dress and some nude patent leather heels. I was too lazy to blow dry my hair, so it’s up in pony tail. I reason with myself that God’s just glad I’m here.

I park in the middle school parking lot across from the low income housing units and walk swiftly up the cracked side walk.  As I pass fellow 10 a.m. church goers. I think, “Hello, I hope you’re as excited as I am.” But instead of speaking, I just smile. I have my big brown vegan approved tote in hand, and since I have been coming to Greater Mt. Zion a year and half I know what to pack. Every Sunday I bring a pen, notebook paper, a check book and lots of tissue. Once in a while I bring in my phone so that I can record snippets of the choir, so I can listen to them at my leisure. As I get closer to the building I hear the welcome music coming through the outdoor speakers, which I quite enjoy.  It’s like the amuse-bouche, compliments of the chef.

I am politely greeted by a woman in her mid-40s, “Hello and welcome to Greater Mt. Zion. Enjoy the service.” I think, “You bet I will!” I am handed a one page weekly bulletin and my eyes scan it. My heart says, “You need to be more involved.” My mind says, “You travel too much.” I convince myself that my level of involvement is enough and I am ushered in the sanctuary.

I take my seat, tuck my over-sized tote under the pew and before I can even look around to analyze the new outfits in the room, I am engulfed in voices, a buzzing of love. I sit in the first few rows and so I am not farther than 10 feet from a full experience. The 20 person choir is singing their first song.  Before I can catch their melody, I can feel that each of their hearts is wide open and full to the brim of praise and thanks. Their cup runneth over so does mine.

                                         

The spirit of the Lord is here
The spirit of the Lord is here
I feel it in the atmosphere
The spirit of the Lord is here, oh
The spirit of the Lord is here, oh
The power of the Lord is here
The power of the Lord is here
I feel it in the atmosphere,
The power of the Lord is here, oh
The power of the Lord is here, oh
Everybody blow the trumpet
And sound the alarm
because the Lord is in the temple
Let everybody bow
Let all the people praise Him now
The Lord is here
 

I close my eyes and the joyous voices raise me into a cloud of what can only be described as love. I think, “This must be what heaven feels like.”  Their ability to praise Jesus with such pride and fervor seeps into me and soon my heart is open and full. So full in fact that now it has to find a release. Finally, my eyes well up and steady streams of tears start to roll down my eyes. Any negative feeling that was floating around in me is shoved out by love and gratitude. I can only reason that this strategy will work in everyday life. The more I praise and give thanks, the less space there is for anger, jealousy or even self-pity.

The voices of that fill the old Baptist church are untrained and yet, they sound spectacular. The parishioners’ voices are loud and there is palpable electricity in the room. If a bystander walked by the church and saw it elevating, I wouldn’t be surprised.  The 27 year old male soloist convincingly sings, “We’re going higher…higher! The presence of the Lord is here, the presence of the Lord is here, I feel him in the atmosphere, the presence of the lord….IS HERE,” and everyone is so jazzed and my hands are red and stinging from clapping with so much excitement. The color coordinated choir is swaying from side to side and movin’ and groovin’.  They look sharp! “I really want to be part of the choir, singing is not my strong point, but maybe I’ll try one day.”

As we near the end of the song the instruments drop off into the background, as to let the believer’s voices be heard more clearly. I feel so much emotion that the lump in my throat is growing with every note.  Now we’ve been praising and dancing for 6 minutes and Greater Mt. Zion is filled wall to wall and floor to ceiling with powerful souls who are praising God. It is magical! I am so overwhelmed that I cover my face and cry into my hands. I think, “I am lucky to have found this church home. I am so lucky to have found God.” God is here, I know. I know for sure, God is here.

The church pews and extra patio chairs and balconies are filled with parishioners of all ages. The 200 person congregation is filled with followers who have more than me, less than me, who are different than me and the same as me saying, “Thank you, Jesus. I praise you. Thank you.” We are all just proud and grateful to participate.

The first song is now over. 

An hour and a half later, church wraps and I walk out feeling energized and rejuvenated. I feel loved and I know I have contributed to my foundation.  I know that the last hour and half was spent not in prayer for things to come, but in prayer of gratitude. On Sundays, I don’t ask God for anything, I just give thanks for all he’s already done.  After Sunday service, I know I am a better advocate for humanity.  I feel whole.

Heaven must feel like this, I know. I know, Heaven must feel like this.

I wish so much to put each of you in my pocket and bring you with me to church.  I think you would love it! I wish I could give you the gift of God’s love and peace, but I know better, only you can do that for yourselves. I love loud joyous celebrations, so Greater Mt. Zion works for me. I encourage you to find what works for you.

 

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