Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The only two people in the room

There are many aspects of the Christian life that I am a little uncomfortable with. Not uncomfortable, as in I don't believe it, uncomfortable as in I just got a new pair of shoes and I haven't quite broken them in yet. Hotel room uncomfortable. Driving in a new town with bad directions uncomfortable. Unfamiliar uncomfortable.

One of the first things I noticed when I visited our church for the first time was how people worshiped  As soon as the music started, people took their seats in the sanctuary. They closed their eyes and lifted their faces towards heaven. They stretched out their hands wide and moved to the music. They opened up and gave themselves up to Jesus in ways I had never seen before.

The first few times I came to church I just watched in awe at the worshiping congregation. I was not used to such outward expressions of faith, and honestly, I thought it was weird. After awhile, I would close my eyes and bow my head just so I couldn't see what was making me so uncomfortable. While some people were engrossed in their active worship of God, I wanted to disappear completely. I even took to sitting down and leaning over in hiding prayer during worship, practically curled up in a ball until the last song was over when I could relax and unfurl for the message.

Over the years the tension eased a bit, but I
always held worship at arms length. I got to the point where I could actually be standing upright (progress!) and could even close my eyes and lift my face up to the Lord as we sang about mercies untold and the beautiful cross. I was slowly understanding what worship was and the beauty it adds to my faith.

It was around this time that the youth staff at our church went to a conference that offered late night concerts and activities. One of the concerts was of some band I'd never heard of before and can't remember now, but was really popular with our friends. It was late and most of us were beat. We were still having fun, though, and not quite ready to call it a night and eager to enjoy a free concert before bed (oh to be 22 again!). The band started playing and in our exhaustion most of us just sat in our chairs watching and listening and enjoying the show. A few scattered hands were raised up in worship, every so often someone would stand in reverence, but mostly we sat and passively worshipped.

Just the way I liked it.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, so I turned my head to look. There, off to the side, stood a woman about my age. She was tall and thin and willowy. She wore a long skirt and a tank top, metallic sandals were kicked off to the side so that she was barefoot. She was completely engrossed, dancing and swaying and moving with the worship that was going on around her. Her arms were stretched out side and high, her head was thrown back, her eyes closed, her mouth smiling wide as she sang and prayed.Her bare feet stomped on the ground with the beat, she spun around and around and around, first in one direction, then suddenly in the other. It was dizzying to watch her.

I was completely and utterly riveted.

I couldn't have taken my eyes off of her if I tried. I had never, ever seen anyone so wildly engrossed in worship. Not the worship leader. Not the pastor. Not even the "weird" people at my church. She and God were clearly the only two people in the room, the rest of us had blended into the walls and disappeared as she worshipped and danced and prayed and spun, around, around, around.

Watching her that night I immediately thought of David and his undignified dancing to the Lord for all to see. She was most certainly undiginfied. "I will become even more undignified than this," David said to Michal when she scolded him.

Until recently, I haven't seen anyone worship with such wild abandon since then. During worship a few months ago a movement across the room caught my eye. I looked to see a man, arms stretched out as wide as they could go, eyes closed, face lifted up, worshipping Jesus like that woman. Like David. Like he and God are the only two people in the room.

Every time I see him, it makes me happy. I watch him and live somewhat vicariously through his worship. I cannot wait until the day that I can worship my Lord and Savior like we are the only two people in the room. It may never look like it does with him, but I suspect that when I am worshipping so wholly and so fully, I won't even notice what it looks like at all.

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