My church only has a Sunday night service once a month. It's always the first Sunday at which time worship music, baptisms, and corporate communion commences (that's a lot of c's in a row). This past Sunday was one to go down in the books.
First of all, participating in a full worship service was amazing because my Lovely One and I are usually with the greeting crew so we miss the first half of the worship. It was a super-charged emotional service with it being the night the founding pastor of the church stepped down from being senior pastor and passed the mantle onto another pastor. Musical worship - check. Now onto baptisms. A mother renewed her commitment to walking with God and being sensitive to The Spirit. Cool. I love that at our church the entire congregation gets on their feet, claps, shouts, and yells for people when they come up out of the water. It makes me feel like I'm participating even a little bit like how the Father and those in Heaven rejoice when a sinner is saved. Now onto communion.
Let me interject for a second, please. Thank you. Okay, so "context is king" as a professor of not-mine once said. The past couple of weeks I have been having major issues with God. I'm in this personal phase where I'm becoming less numb and feeling more. It is kind of like waking up sleeping animals and I don't really know which type of animal I'm waking up when. Yeah, so, this past week had been chock-a-bok full of explatives at God and unleashing suppressed anger. In some ways I felt guilty and in others I felt apathetic. I had been having feelings questioning God's presence in my past and current chaos. Where was he when I was being sexually abused? Where was he when I was all alone? Where was he when I felt like everything was crashing in on me and he had abandoned me? That kind of stuff.
Okay, back to communion. First came the bread. As our old pastor (not as in age - well, yeah, I guess he's old that way too - but as in tenure at the church) prayed over and held up the bread and I saw a picture in my mind of God funnelling his wrath and fury onto Jesus for the sins of the world he was bearing. It was stirring to say the least to picture this ultimate sacrifice for the Father, for the world, and for me. me. I remained shaken by this reality while the bread was passed out and the worship band played The Revelation Song. Sorry Kari Jobe; no one does The Revelation Song like The Vineyard! Then came the "wine". I usually try to reflect on my sin and Christ's sacrifice in preparation for receiving this sacrament, but Jesus interrupted me. Sidenote: in my mind when I "hear" God speaking to me in the still, small voice I always imagine it's coming from God the Father though I really have no true basis for this. end sidenote. In my "holy imagination" as my pastor calls it, I heard Jesus ask God if it was okay for Him to speak; obviously it was! So Jesus then told me that he was sorry that I felt so sad, isolated, angry, and numb. He told me that He could relate; that he too experienced what I did as a man and was tempted in all things also. He told me that, "It's okay, I know. I've cried the tears that you cry." This wrecked me to say the least!!! (Yes, all three exclamation points are necessary.) Never before I have felt the closeness and personal-ness of the Holy Triune to me. Never. God always felt so ethereal and removed. I was weeping by this point as I saw something like a sheet of blood, like at the end of car wash is with rain washing the suds off, wash over me. God reminded me of how He had cleansed me of all sin through His love and sacrifice. All of my inner fight just fell flat in light of this. I still barely grasp what happened that night. I just know that I am now changed.
Pretty much all of my life I have loved God and have worked hard for Him even when He wasn't wishing that of me. I have always had the amazing gap between me and God though. I never knew why I couldn't approach Him and reach out to Him in times of need. I could to His Church, but not to Him. This has changed. I was struggling major time this morning getting stuck in my head about a dream I had last night and remembering love and pain from the past wondering what if... and when... Today I could reach out to Him. While I am scared as s#!$ to trust Him and rely on Him, somehow I am assured that He is there for me - personally there for me. Thank you God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit for this assurance.
This experience will be an ebenezer stone for me to reference back to from hence forward. The enemy can not steal this event from me, this Entity and Relationship from me rather. I am nervous as all get out and extremely excited to see what happens from here. I know it's not going to be what my domesticated, suburban self had in mind.
~Came to believe has never been so genuine. Thank you for accepting my reality and not just being the god of my imagination and composition, but the God of the scriptures you breathed into life. Thank you.