Wow, I’ll never be the same!
Ever go away from church saying that under your breath – or maybe out loud? If what happened there is what was supposed to happen there, my guess is, you have.
God re-seen; His people re-made. That’s a cryptic description of the consequence of time in His presence. Anything else is a poor substitute. Anything less, why would we even bother to attend? Anything other than that is like sidling up to the dinner table on Thanksgiving at grandma’s house, but walking away from the table still hungry.
For instance there’s the majesty of the music. Not lifeless inane ditties; not boring repetition. But big. Praise. Anthems. Hymns of worship. Majestic poetry that raises a lump in your throat, wrapped in music you’ll still be humming on Tuesday. Even angels cannot join us in singing redemption’s story. More than once I’ve stood with a congregation in that aura of worship and thought, We could have the benediction right now – I’ve been to church. Transformational.
Then a thoughtful, spiritual leader ushers us into the throne room of the universe. You can sense it. It’s real. It’s visceral. He or she speaks to God on our behalf and we have no doubt this is a two-way conversation. God leans down to listen. He is there and He is not silent. You feel His heart. You know He feels yours. He invites us to come boldly, so we do. With our praise; with our petitions; claiming His promises. No congregation ever rises from that encounter the same as it was when it knelt there.
After the leader has spoken to God on our behalf, he or she now speaks to us on God’s behalf. It is immediately evident that the words are bathed in the atmosphere of the upper room. This is no secular lecture. This is not a skill learned in the classroom. This is not a narrow homily warmed up the evening before. This is the heart of God communicated through a purified vessel. This approximates what God would say if He were here in person. We listen to hear His whisper. We have come hungry so we are eager to be filled and we are not disappointed.
Other things happen, too, during the hour. And they are often helpful. But those mentioned here are the supernaturally transformational experiences which time in the presence of the God of the universe is intended to accomplish. These are the reasons, walking out into the parking lot, we muse, “Wow, I’ll never be the same!”
By Don Jacobsen