Hedonism, Begone!

I got to go to church this morning. Sure, that’s something to look forward to every week, but this was especially meaningful.  I sat down and tried to figure out how long it has been since I have been in a proper service, and was shocked.  December 2oth was canceled because of snow.  December 27th I only could stay for the service and not for kid’s church because it was the last home football game and I had to hit the road.  Then the 3rd of January was the kid’s Christmas program (which was originally supposed to be on 12/20) so I missed both sermons, the 10th I was there but since I had to run an errand for kids church first and the pastor was preaching in all three services I missed 2/3 of the sermon, the 17th I was out of town, the 24th I was sick as a dog, the 31st I had no car and services were again canceled because of snow.

So to make a long story short, I have only been to service once since before Christmas!  Yes, I was a practicing heathen.

Even though my regular service was canceled today we had one at 11:15.  I had an awesome time.  So many people I had not seen in months, time to get out of the house and enjoy this beautiful day, and the chance to worship with others in Christ.

One of the reasons I like the service structure that I participate in is that we have almost a full half hour of praise and worship before the sermon.  I missed the first song while I went upstairs to see if they needed more teachers (and got cornered by the VBS director to discuss next summer on the way), and when I got back they were finishing the greeting and started the next song.

That is when the purity of the service really hit home for me.

It was one of my favorite songs to sing at church–“Do You Hear the Mountains Tremble”.  It’s been covered by a bunch of people, I’m not sure who the original artists are.  Matt Redman sings it, Sonicflood sings it, Delirious? sings it (listen to the Delirious? version here). . . who cares who sings it.  It just moves me.  Here are the lyrics:

Did you feel the mountains tremble
Did you hear the oceans roar
When the people rose to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen oneDid you feel the people tremble
Did you hear the singers roar
When the lost began to sing of
Jesus Christ, the saving one

And we can see that, God, You’re moving
A mighty river through the nations
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide, you heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord
Prepare the way

[Chorus]

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring Your hope
Songs that bring Your joy
Dancers who dance upon injusticeDo you feel the darkness tremble
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokenness

And here we see that, God, You’re moving
A time of jubilee is coming
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide, you heavenly gates

Prepare the way of the risen Lord
[Chorus]

There is just something so celebratory about this song.  When you get to the chorus, the emotion, the mood, the spirit are all moving together and it is gorgeous.  At the end we usually sing it acapella, at it’s surprising I’m not choked with tears. It’s rare a song moves me this much.  “Midnight Cry” can do it when I’m in the right mood.  “No More Night” will ALWAYS make me cry.  And sometimes “True Love” by Phil Wickham will do it too.  I don’t know why they are all Christian songs, but they all have something in it that speaks to my soul, and now I’m adding this one to the list.

(Side note: I typed all of this before going to a Superbowl gathering tonight, where one of the girls from the worship team and I had a blast chatting.  I mentioned how much I loved this song, and she said that for the band up there this morning it was totally cool because they could feel all the energy coming back towards them from us.  That it was incredible that we could generate that amount of emotion back through the gym to the band and that we could have that kind of experience.  AWESOME.)

Throw in a morning prayer from my former Sunday School teacher, and I was there.  I LOVE it when he prays.  He is a man who is more in tune with God and with God’s wonder and how to relate that to other people that I have ever met.  AWESOME morning so far. By that point, the sermon was almost secondary.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still important.  The head pastor spoke.  I love it when I get to hear him preach, it’s a rare treat because he is usually in the sanctuary service.  But at that point I had already had church just from the music.  The text of the lesson was from Isaiah 55: 8-11:

8The LORD says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours.
9Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.
10“Rain and snow fall from the sky. But they don’t return without watering the earth that produces seeds to plant and grain to eat.
11That’s how it is with my words. They don’t return to me without doing everything I send them to do.”

The pastor related it to the snow.  How we may not want the snow, but it does serve a purpose.  One that we may not see right away, one that may even be some time before we see the full benefit.  But there is a purpose.  Sure, it may get in the way now, and it may seem inconvenient and a menace, but there is a purpose for it.  The parallel lesson is that the instruction we receive from God may, like the snow, not always be welcome.  But as the snow serves a purpose the instruction we receive from God is something we will benefit from.  We also need to recognize that today it has stopped snowing and is a beautiful day outside.  There is sun shining, a bright blue sky, birds singing, and football to watch in the evening.  We need to not get caught up in our own illness, our own trauma, our own drama, . . . our own snowstorm, and realize that God will take care of the situation and stay in control because God is not only there after the storm, he sent the snowstorm, and he is there during the snowstorm so that we can praise him after the snowstorms in our lives.

I know I’ve said it several times already, but AWESOME Sunday morning.  I am a heathen no more!

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2 thoughts on “Hedonism, Begone!

  1. it makes me pay attention, otherwise my thoughts wander to ‘what on earth is she wearing’ or ‘cool shoes’ or ‘hey he’s cute!’ :).

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