Rhythm {Five Minute Friday}

Rhythm

The moonlight made walking easier as we followed single file through the sand. What seemed like hours was only minutes and we had arrived at one of many clearings. The only thing that differentiated this clearing from the others was the group of people beginning to assemble – mostly women with a few kids in tow. The silvery light made everyone glow as I squinted to distinguish features. Seeing the other parishioners, as I guess you’d call them, was far from my mind as they began to sing.

An unrecognizable melody filled the vast space around our moonlit gathering place. Voices  high and strong continued to weave a mesmerizing story as the people formed a tight circle. Though I couldn’t understand any of the words, I could understand the heart behind their songs. Each syllable was in praise of the Creator, the artist behind our surroundings. As voices grew stronger and the tune changed with each new offering of worship, there was a spontaneous movement toward the center of the circle. One person leaned in and leaned out, letting the music sway their body. Even with eyes closed, others let their bodies move along with the instigator and within seconds our gathering was an undulating mass.

These songs and this movement was to an unfamiliar rhythm, but I knew it was all in honor of the Father whose love has stretched far beyond any of the countries and traditions represented in the moonlit clearing.

Not from the night worship gathering, but this gives you an idea of the lovely voices I was talking about.

Five Minute Friday

Worship at The Gathering

Chairs filled the room in a tight formation. The large room began to shrink as hundreds of people started taking their seats. Even though we sat on the aisle of a row near the front, I could feel my neighbors sit and settle in.

Spoken word proclaims the greatness of God. The room is dark as we see the enormity of God’s creation splashed on the screen above. We are insignificant, but God gives us value. We are fallen, but God redeems. We need and God gives.

There is a stirring as we pray – a current of hope and excitement makes its way around the room. God is here. At the leader’s invitation, we rise. Our jostling adds a melody to his strumming guitar. As drums and bass fill out the chorus, our voices swell as a collective act of praise to the One who paid it all.

Worship at The Gathering

There’s nothing like a large group worshipping together as the Church.  This past week, Tim and I attended The Gathering, a family ministry conference in Costa Mesa. One of the {many} highlights for me was the worship.

Standing in that room, eyes closed and arms high, I felt so near to Jesus – like we were the only ones in the room. He was there in my head and in my heart. The darkness felt like a refuge. The music was enveloping.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel the heat from those around me. Sleeves brushed sleeves, arms bumped arms as we worshipped our God as one. I was aware of the other souls crying out to Jesus just as much as I was solely focused on Him alone.

Beautiful.

Beautiful because it gave form to the  individual and corporate aspects of life in the body of Christ. We get to have a personal relationship with our Savior {individual} as well as walk alongside other believers, serving God and others {corporate}.

I was worshipping. We were worshipping.

One God.

 

 

Thankful Thursday: One Body

My soul never ceases to swell with praise when I am surrounded by people singing out to their Savior.  It’s especially meaningful to me when the people are young.

Last night was Unite – a worship  night for teens in the area.  Youth groups from neighboring towns gathered in one local church to praise God together. I was encouraged by this display of unity among believers.

God shows no favoritism and this group was a living, praising example of the corporate body of Christ.   Many voices sang out, many hands were raised to honor our Lord.  It was an audible and visual reminder that we are called to be One body, One family, One church under Christ.

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  {Ephesians 4:3}

Music to My Heart

For the longest time, my car’s CD player has been defunct.  Woe be unto you if you hit the eject button.  A concerto of discouraging noises will announce that your request has been rejected.  Not only does the player hold my six CDs hostage, it also refuses to play them most of the time.

However, yesterday was one of those joyous occasions when I pressed the CD button and music started to play.  Changing the CD is also a no-no, so I was pleased when JJ Heller began to sing.  A friend of mine introduced me to her a couple years ago and I’m a huge fan.  Her songs are infused with vulnerability and an emotional insight that generally leaves me sniffing instead of singing.

Music and I have never had an overtly intimate relationship.  It’s more of a pastime than a passion, but, as the inevitable JJ Heller sniff fest ensued, I realized there were certain artists I gravitated towards when traversing particularly primitive roads in my life.

Here’s a few of my go to artists and songs that, for various reasons, stir something deep in my soul and keep me going when I feel bummed out:

Reality San Fransisco – Songs Of Our Youth: This EP is a collection of 4 worship songs written or rearranged by the worship team over at Reality San Francisco in their beginning stages as a church.  Psalm 23 could be them most moving worship song I’ve heard. I can’t listen to it on the treadmill anymore because closing my eyes throws me off balance…  Bonus – you can download the EP for free!

You prepare a table in the presence of my foes and You anoint my head and my cup it overflows.  Surely I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  {Psalm 23}

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset:  My brother introduced me to The Kinks and this song.  He generally tears up when listening to it, which I never understood until I witnessed a Waterloo sunset.  Both of us studied abroad in the UK and have a special place in our hearts for England.  There’s something about the melody that I find hauntingly beautiful and I am instantly transported overseas to a fun, growth filled season in my life.

People so busy, makes me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright.  But I don’t need no friends.  As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset, I am in paradise.   {Waterloo Sunset}

The Beach BoysI can’t help but smile when I hear The Beach Boys playing.  I am a Southern California girl, after all…  Just a few chords and my feet tap, my voice sings out, and my primitive road doesn’t seem so daunting. Tim and I exited our wedding ceremony to the triumphal strains of Wouldn’t It Be Nice. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up in the morning when the day is new.  And after having spent the day together, hold each other close the whole night through.  You know its gonna make it that much better, when we can say goodnight and stay together.   {Would’t It Be Nice}

JJ Heller: Like I mentioned before, Mrs. Heller knows how to craft meaningful and honest songs.  Her lyrics make me cry, laugh, Amen!, and sigh.  I own Painted Red and Only Love Remains.

I’m losing my vision, I’m fighting the doubting with all that I am.  It’s been awhile since you last gave me something to go on.  Tell me it’s not the end.  {Everything Is Changing}

What music gets you though the days that seem particularly unpaved?