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Monday, May 29, 2006

When God shows up for church

God was at church Sunday morning. Imagine that! I don’t think God always bothers to show up at church, because people don’t necessarily want him there. Actually, he probably shows up anyway, and waits in the wings for someone to invite him in, but sometimes he leaves disappointed because no-one makes space for him.

This Sunday, he was there, eager to meet us when we arrived. It started with the music. He liked the music. I think he liked the fact that we mixed it up a bit and had the music team play from the back of the room.

He was there when I got up to welcome the gatherers. I could see him smiling from the rain outside the window. He chuckled while I prayed, and let loose a mighty crash of thunder just before I said amen.

He was there when Rob got up to speak too. I think he likes hearing Rob speak, because he knows authenticity when he sees it. He recognizes the humility in Rob’s heart, just like the rest of us do. Humility makes him feel like he's got something to work with.

When everyone was finished speaking and singing, and there was silence, he seemed especially happy. He likes it when we shut up for a change and let him get a word in edge-wise. He doesn’t always get it why we think we have to fill so much of our time with words. He keeps hoping that humans will evolve in our ability and willingness to communicate in the stillness.

He came with me to the centre of the labyrinth and knelt beside me on the floor. As I walked back to the edges, he stuck beside me, reminding me he’s not just a “centre of the labyrinth” kind of god. I didn’t talk much and neither did he. We just hung out as we walked. I enjoyed the company and he did too.

He was in the kids’ room too, watching them make shields out of cardboard and tinfoil. I think he probably has the most fun there, because kids know how to be real and don’t stop to worry about whether they’re “doing church right”. He likes to hear them laugh and he takes pleasure in the dancing and creativity. Sometimes, he just stays in the Kidventure room, because it gets a little stuffy and boring where the adults are.

He hung around after church too, because he really likes potlucks. There’s something about people gathering around a table, he says, that makes him want to stick around. Potlucks are some of his favourite moments, because people share food, eat together, have good conversations, exchange recipes, clean up together and just basically “do community” without putting on a big show or getting all formal on him.

Even after the potluck, he lingered, because he wanted to be with us while we celebrated the newest member of our church family. He loves celebrations – especially where children are concerned. There’s something about a baby celebration that makes him feel all warm and fuzzy and, most of all, hopeful.

After church, he climbed into our cars with us and offered to stick with us for the rest of the week. Some of us took him along, and some of us told him we’d prefer it if he’d stay at church until next Sunday.

(Note: feel free to substitute "she" for "he" in the above. I don't think God minds.)

2 comments:

Dale said...

You've got me smilin', Heather. I'm smilin' big here. Thank you.

Michele said...

i was glad that i showed up, too.