Until then, I’d never experienced our church from the pulpit view. I’d done a reading once, down a tier at the presenters’ lectern. I once made a nervous mission announcement from there, as well.
I don’t know how many seconds passed before I began to speak.
There may have been no delay, at all.
Maybe my mind was moving faster than time. Or, maybe time truly suspended giving me a moment to catch up.
Being caught in that living still frame isn’t something I’ve ever been able to escape. Nor the feeling of being yanked back to the conscious present based solely on the physiological need to breathe.
This is what I saw: our church – our house of worship – filled. Surpassing Christmas, surpassing Easter. Standing room only, was truly that.
People lined the outer walls, the back walls, stood in the lobby, 2-3 deep in respectful rows, sat shoulder to shoulder. Hands clasped, eyes turned, a hush-filled quiet uncomfortably questioning what was about to happen.
So unexpected. So. Many. People.
I don’t know what I thought I’d see from up there, but that wasn’t it.
Someday, I want to paint the way I felt: far-away shadow figures, vague- shaped contours; impressionistic forms. It’s not that they don’t deserve to be individualized. It’s rather that they were one cohesive group, for the first time, for the last time, forever.
I’ve run the scene so many times; replayed when I need to feel stronger. I remember I did that and remind myself if I got through then, I can get through now.
I have an issue listening for God or to Him. I’ve gone way too long in some situations and found myself happily or unhappily God-smacked.
Like upside the head, like, “Hey, dammit (if God swore), pay attention!”
Like a physical push, showing me out of a situation that has long since run it’s course.
It’s easy to glance back and see the dozens of times the message almost got through to me. Last week, one actually did.
GOD: Dwelling. Places.
ME: (stubbornly) How. Many. Heavens?
Suddenly, I saw it so clearly. I knew.
In that sea of souls, right there in our Father’s house of worship, there were many dwelling places.
Down here, we call them hearts. Each person there, took him all the way Home in theirs.
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