My church is messy.
A seven year boy old debuting original rhythms on the drums.
A young girl loudly offering random thoughts.
Children stampeding down the hall.
Distracting, frustrating…an infringement on “my time” with God. I can barely concentrate on singing the first hymn.
We broke for coffee and the leader struggled to bring us back together.
Our groups started with the questions and ended up somewhere else entirely.
But as we sang the last song with bread and cup lingering on our lips, God cut through the clutter.
One of the children started to dance, and then another, and then a third. Joyful little dervishes lost in the music, giggling as they spun out of control and teetered into the arms of their parents. Without knowing it, they reminded me of what worship is all about.
In God’s eyes we are more like these little children than the put-together adults we pretend to be.
We are just as distracted. Just as unsettled. We sit calmly in our chairs with our thoughts and feelings running wildly like the kids through the house. We insist on our agendas, but more cleverly. We open our mouths to speak, but often avoid the real answers.
And sometimes we dance.That moment when we let go and allow ourselves to be caught up in the presence of God. And perhaps She smiles like we all did on Saturday night when the children started spinning.
We dance when…
we vulnerably share our hurts and hopes
listen long enough to recognize the song we are singing harmonizing with the notes of our lives
we tear off a satisfying hunk of bread and let the juice dribble down our chin, realizing that God is our sustenance.
It doesn’t happen every time. It often only lasts a moment. But this is why we gather every week to engage the practice of worship together. Giving God the chance to cut through the chaos, mixed emotions, and garbled motivations that we all carry with us.
As the children danced around, I felt God wishing I would let go of my idols of neatness and routine. I felt God nudging me to surrender my notion of worship being about me (and my preferences). I felt God opening me to understanding that worship is about “us” and the spirit of God that blows through us like the wind blows through the trees.