As we sat in the worship service this morning my heart felt like it might burst and yet completely at home and secure all at the same time. I experienced a huge involuntary exhale followed by a wide grin. My husband was holding my hand, worship music surrounded us and I tried to freeze it all as a tiny glimpse of the peace of heaven.
The funny thing is, I don't even remember what song was playing. My children were in various stages of slouch and mumbling much more than singing. I realized it had nothing to do with the lyrics or the momentary circumstances. It was, instead, a celebration in my heart of place, time, community and priority.
There is a lot said and written about church--what makes a good one or a bad one, the different types, the reason for it. People 'like' or 'dislike' styles, preachers, atmospheres, musical genres, times and locations...but this morning as I felt so alive, free and refreshed just being there I tried to pinpoint why.
No church is perfect. It is, afterall, a group of sinful people gathered in a space. But by virtue of seeking to know Him more and taking a collective pause from the world to praise God, it becomes sacred.
A few weeks ago my husband & I attended a great marriage enrichment retreat. For us, the most meaningful part of the weekend was an exercise in family vision setting. The facilitator gave us a worksheet that walked us through a process of discovering what we valued individually--and when we thought we were at our best as a team.
It surprised even me when I got to a question asking us to describe specific times and places where I felt best as a couple and one of the first things that came to mind was sitting in church during worship music. As I sought to explain why, I realized it is because on Sunday mornings my priorities are in order. In a dark room, surrounded by community, singing the truth of who God is--we are sequestered from noise and distraction, focused on what is most important.
I love the picture of my eyes looking up (to the screens), my lips professing what I believe (through song), my ears hearing others with a unified voice (singing the same lyrics) while holding hands with my partner.
Truly, everything else falls into place in that moment--largely because there is no room for insignificant worry or thought when our focus is right.
God is the head and the body takes its proper place under Him.
Alas, at 9:55 we are released and walk down the corridor into the bright light of 'real world.' We will scatter to places with competing voices and crowded schedules. But I pray we take with us the peace and perspective those sacred moments bring.
I am so grateful for the church.