Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Moment of Wow

Each night of our 2004 Chicago Mission Trip we would gather in the common area of the bedless dorm we were sleeping in for some devotional time.  I would bring along my guitar and we would sing a song or two just for the fellowship- it was by no means a worship service.  We had no song sheets or means of projection; we had to sing songs we knew by heart.  By heart...that phrase would mean something completely different to me after our last night in the dorm...

We gathered that night and one of the students shared a devotional, and then I pulled out my guitar asked our little group if they had any requests.  They did.  We began to sing, and as we went through several of our favorite songs from youth group I could feel the Holy Spirit making itself known in the room.  I decided to wrap up our time by singing three of our favorites-  Sometimes By Step ("O God you are my God..."), It Is You (Newsboys) and Sanctuary - as a worship medley.  As we sang these very familiar songs the atmosphere in the room became thick with worship.  The team was completely absorbed in the songs.  I was still playing, but had closed my eyes and was no longer leading music- I was merely a vessel.  As was our tradition, we sang Sanctuary through a final time acapella.  Those 13 voices sounded like a heavenly choir.  We were no longer singing words- we were making a promise to God.  "With thanksgiving I'll be a living sanctuary for You."  The singing stopped and there was total silence.  I opened my eyes only to discover that I was no longer facing the group.  I had been spun around and was facing the wall, completely lost in that moment of pure worship.  We all looked at each other and said in a collective voice, "Wow..."

In the days that would follow we would try to explain that moment to parents, friends and even the rest of the church staff, but soon realized it was a "You had to be there" moment.  We all knew we had experienced - no, been overwhelmed by- the presence of the living God that night in a very powerful way.

I'll wrap up this trilogy tomorrow with some memories of our post-work adventures in Chicagoland.  

Because of Jesus,

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