It usually takes a couple of Sunday morning songs for me to get my worship where I want it to be. I sometimes struggle to quiet the noise of the week so my heart can listen, and my mind can see. This past Sunday, the end of our second song nudged that process into motion. “We will sing hallelujah, till You come again. And we’ll dance in Your presence till you come again.”
Every time we sing that last line, I can’t help but think about my mother dancing in the presence of Jesus … and I smile. I close my eyes to picture the scene. Gently, He rests His hands on her open palms. And they sway.
Side to side.
Of course, I don’t know whether or not this is actually happening, but it’s how I’ve learned to respond to grief and communicate with Jesus. I paint pictures in my mind based on what I’ve learned about Him in the love letter God wrote for all of us.
As our third song began, my eyes closed, and I sang. It was a familiar refrain to me. One many of us have lived. “How great the chasm that lay between us. How high the mountain I could not climb. In desperation, I turned to heaven and spoke Your name into the night.” As those words tumbled off my lips, my voice trailed because I recognized how far God had brought me, and I knew the words that came next: “Then through the darkness your loving kindness tore through the shadows of my soul. The work is finished. The end is written. Jesus Christ, my Living Hope.”
Those words swelled my heart with overwhelming gratitude. I’m forever thankful that God turned the sadness that once surrounded me into joy. He dissolved my pain into compassion. His peace replaced my inner chaos. He gave me a new song in the night that I can’t help but sing!
As our worship song continued, I had to rely on my church family to lead me through the song while I offered up my own quiet prayer of thanksgiving. Now I understand that all my efforts to be good enough for heaven died with Jesus on the cross. “Who could imagine so great a mercy? What heart could fathom such boundless grace? The God of ages stepped down from glory to wear my sin and bear my shame. The cross has spoken. I am forgiven. THE KING OF KINGS CALLS ME HIS OWN!”
As the voices around me continued, I slowly added mine to the chorus. I sang to an audience of One in a room full of hundreds. Jesus’ passion for me on the cross, continually fuels my willingness to express my love and thankfulness. Then came the moment I had waited for. My hands were empty and opened wide. In my mind, I saw Jesus standing in front of me; His hands resting gently on top of mine … and we swayed.
Side to side.
“The time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24, NLT)
Lord, help me to no longer be ashamed or embarrassed to worship You with the same passion You have for us. Forgive us when we make worship all about us. Fix our eyes on You, our Living Hope! It’s not to us, but all for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,