Saturday, June 8, 2013

All Together Now

Praying all together, voices raised
The volume rising, rising
Rising to the ceiling,
Buoying me upward
Filling my heart
So nothing is there but prayer
Words, muted sound
Calling to God
Praising His name.

All together,
Voices woven as a tapestry of grace
And up, and out,
Growing and swelling,
Then dying down until
Only the breaths of the faithful
Can be heard.


I'll admit, when I went to the Potter's House, I really had no idea what to expect.  It was downtown, and from the website it looked like many other non-denominational churches. Lots of information about a relationship with God, and I felt like they understood that many of the people coming to the church would be wounded inside.

I did, also, get the impression it was what I call a "Come As You Are" kind of church.  So I, feeling fatigued from a very busy week, wore a nice top and, yes, blue jeans.

I will not do that again.

There were two people in the church in jeans, and one of them was a teenager. Most women wore dresses (I saw only two women in slacks) and many of the men had blazers.  It wasn't formal, just nice. And I felt really out of place. It's okay, though, because not one single soul seemed to look at me sideways or in any way other than welcoming.  Even the usher at the door with his very nice Sunday-best suit.

The music was uplifting and energizing, and I knew many of the words to the familiar songs.  For the songs I hadn't heard before, melodies were relatively simple but nice to the ears, and it was easy to keep up and sing along. Acoustics were really, really nice and I had no issues hearing whatsoever without feeling deafened.

After the worship team had led us in song, it was time for prayer. We learned who was deployed, who had new babies, whose family needed prayer, who had health issues. I got a sense of community, listening to these unfamiliar names. And then we were invited to close our eyes and pray.

And that's when it started. This church prays out loud, as a group, voices rising and falling and filling the room. It was pretty intense. A week later, I am still not sure exactly how I feel about it. It was something new to me, and it is something I think I'd have a hard time getting used to. I grew up with the idea that prayer was an intensely personal and thus private thing,

But, writing about it here, the poem above just flowed. I have often felt carried along by the prayers others have offered on my behalf; there were entire years I am not sure I'd have survived if it were not for the intercessions requested by friends and churches. The Army is not an easy life. It was a unique experience to hear the prayers said aloud, and envision all of those friends and families and organizations being filled with the spirit as it flowed in that building on that Sunday morning.

Church is about coming together, and praying together felt a pretty nice addition to that community of souls. I, for one, still feel buoyed by it.

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