For me it is not usual to linger too long on a particular worship service. Usually by Tuesday my mind has already transitioned to the next week; the preparations that I need to make and the sermon I need to write. But last week was not usual.
I feel last week’s service had a deeper moving by the Holy Spirit within it. And maybe that is because I needed more of the Spirit that day. I shared that my mother-in-law passed away last Saturday. So I took time to prepare how I was going to share that announcement. My main goal was to make sure as I uttered those words, that I had the strength to do so. I practiced several times, made several calls for Debbie to share the news with extended family, and all in all felt good about it. However, when I stood before you Sunday morning to offer the opening prayer, I could feel all the strength I thought I had disappear through my feet. My voice cracked and I could feel the tears wanting to flow. It was not too bad but I knew my goose was cooked and I would not have the strength on my own to get through the rest of the service.
But as things progressed I felt the Spirit’s strength more and more. In fact, we proceeded just fine for a while. I was excited to have Bill Cantrell come forward and for us to lay hands on him and anoint him with oil. Those moments are always very powerful to me. But then came the hymn, the hymn where we open up the rail for all of us to pray. I felt drawn to the rail in a very deep way. I went and prayed and no sooner did my knees hit the floor and my elbows touch the rail, the tears flowed. I had not cried like that at any time up to that point. Then just as quickly, I felt the comforting touch of two people, one on each side. As I cried through that prayer, I could feel the love of the congregation and the support of God in my soul.
The love that you all shared with me, the compassionate touch you all offered to Bill, truly made this past Sunday a very moving experience. Thank you for being open to the Spirit’s moving, thank you for being the vessels by which God ministered to me, thank you for being there for me when I needed you.
I am always so grateful for those times when that veil between Heaven and Earth is thinned, even if just a bit. And Sunday was one of those days!
Have a great week!