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Monday, August 29, 2005

He is Here

I'm not an emotional guy.

Oh, sure, I'm "in touch" with my emotions, because they're, uh, mine. However, getting all bleary eyed is a rare thing for me - as with most men, I suspect.

I don't get very many revelations, either. Of course, I don't get any Revelations (of the St. John variety), but I also don't get many clear messages from the Lord.

Therefore, Sunday night was a very unusual night for me.

Our church had a big choir production last night. They do one every year at the end of the summer. I can't attest to how it usually is, but for this one I can say: I have never had such an awesome worship experience.

It was only into the second or third song. I had checked out the 80 person choir, looking at who was in it. The summer production has a number of people who, during the school year, usually do not have time to do choir, so it was neat to see some faces up there that usually are not. As I looked at the choir, I realized that none of them have it all together.

That sounds pretty arrogant as I write it, but that was exactly what came to me - none of them have it all together...but God still accepts their praise and worship. They all are struggling and fail in different parts of their life - as a parent, a husband or wife, as an employee, as a boss, as a church member, as a minister, in their evangelism, in their Bible study, in their prayer time, in their obedience. Not a single one can, or would, claim to have it all together - Just like me - and it doesn't matter.

For the choir director. A Davidic psalm, when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone to Bathsheba.
1 Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. Indeed, I was guilty [when I] was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones You have crushed rejoice. Turn Your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing of Your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Psalms 51:1-17 (HCSB)

However, as moving as that message was, He wasn't done with me yet. You see, there was a troupe of interpretive dancers that was going to be part of the celebration. I was not amused.

I pretty much was of the opinion that interpretive dance is, at best, kind of fruity, and at worst, sacriligeous. Come on, who thinks that nonsense is worship? Like I need some 'expressive dancer' to help my worship experience at all. My thoughts of interpretive dance reminded me of the UCC church I went to that was as soft on doctrine as I could possibly imagine. I also figured that, unlike members of an 80-member choir, most dancers were spotlight seeekers. Thus, I was rather chagrined that I would have to endure them.

Unfortunately, I do not have the words to describe what they did, aside from it was clearly Biblical stories that fit the songs. The dance was so powerful that I don't even remember the songs that went with them, with one exception. The part that featured acts of Jesus during his ministry had the words, "He is Here" and "God is Here" featured prominently in it. The dancer who played the part of Jesus or God in each set was a young black man, perhaps 16. There were 13 dancers in all, one of whom was a girl with a genetic growth inhibition condition (I don't know enough about them to say which one). To see her, who could easily rail against the world and God for here conditon, sing and act "God is here" was incredible. The Jesus dancer was magnificent in his portrayals.

The message was clear to me - my disdain for interpretive dance was foolish. I knew in the very depths of my soul, as the choir sang and the dancers moved, that He was there, indeed. My tears were nearly continuous.

The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the housetop at about noon. Then he became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something he went into a visionary state. He saw heaven opened and an object coming down that resembled a large sheet being lowered to the earth by its four corners. In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!”
14 “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything common and unclean!”
15 Again, a second time, a voice said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call common.”

Acts 10:9-15 (HCSB)


Thank you, Lord.

4 Comments:

  • Awesome Hammer, I'm glad to know that God works on you too, now I don't feel alone. Acts 10 was what I posted on not too long ago and that verse in particular. A coincidence? :)

    By Blogger Teresa, at 8/31/2005 12:00:00 PM  

  • Boy, can I relate...especially to the emotional part but including the revelational aspect of it as well.
    I could never understand why Jesus had to die or the whole sacrifice thing (still don't, really, and there is no need to pretend otherwise I reckon :).
    But two weeks ago, I attended an old time religious service...the kind where the preacher is of the unschooled, sing-song, hyper-ventilating type?--that's about the only way I know how to describe it.
    I was sitting there, thinking secular, detached thoughts...curiously noting the circumstances, perhaps just a smidgeon condescendingly in retrospect.
    The Preacher was talking about the sacrifice of Jesus...and I begin to hear the words the Preacher was actually saying...and when he got to the part where Jesus requested "God, if it is your will...take this cup away from me!"
    Oh Man!!! For just a second I glimpsed the true nature of His sacrifice; it had to be a sacrifice in every way...even to the point of dreading it...EVEN the feeling of abandonment Jesus must have felt when He asked from the cross "God...why have you forsaken me?" To make His sacrifice complete, he had to cover ALL the bases. I GOT IT...I GOT IT!!!
    My heart just burst! I've never had tears flow like that before. So I understand about personal revelation and tears unstoppable...and a little lesson similar to your "interpretive dancers" I imagine.

    By Blogger David Hunley, at 9/03/2005 05:22:00 AM  

  • I too felt the same way about intrepretive dancing..fruity. When I found out that our Youth group would be learning intrepretive dance(actually we call it our Creative Movements Team)I thought... how bizzarro!..that is gonna make them look sooo weird. Anywho..needless to say I was humbled...it is a truly powerful form of praise and worship and outreach tool. I am really proud of those kids!What is the name of your church by the way...just curious if I know of it. I grew up near Louisville and now we live in London,Ky.
    Blessings,
    Tina

    By Blogger Skooter, at 9/09/2005 04:25:00 PM  

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