I’ll sing the song of the redeemed, I will. I’ll stand in a school gymnasium, in the congregation of the saints, and I’ll sing until the tears run down my face, mascara tracking, about how He loves us, about His justice, about His lovingkindness. I’ll dance-sway in the back aisle with the other mamas-with-babes-in-arms, we have toddlers to chase and that is part of our worship, and I’ll think that this is what heaven sounds like, stomping feet, and laughing children, and people singing, hang on a second, let me kick my shoes off, this is holy ground.
I tell the stories of how God has been enough for me, how he has changed me, saved me, set me free, redeemed me. I sing about my gratitude, a deep, bone deep, gratitude for the vulgar, lavish, wild grace and love of my God.
But do you know what I love about these Sunday mornings, about the space between the songs? I remember the stories I don’t speak out loud. I remember the secrets, just between me and Jesus, and the millions of ways I’ve been healed and restored and no one will ever know.
The sweetest restorations are the secret ones, don’t you think?
The Lord has done great things for me. I am filled with joy.
I sing these songs of the redeemed, but sometimes the songs don’t have words, and it’s sweet for the secret language of knowing, for the space between the words, for the humming and the silence, and the waiting.
And maybe no one else will ever know the depth to which he went to pull me out of the mire, but I know. My feet smell of the earth still, and even that is real and good to me now. These Sunday mornings, when everyone is singing, these are my appointment times to remember, and give thanks, my own secret eucharisteo moments that don’t ever make it to a keyboard, because they’re not for mass consumption.
The stories that aren’t written are my favourites.
I love to see the people of God with my own eyes, in a real room, with real people, right now. I love knowing that we all have these secrets. We all have them. And they’re sweet because they’re only ever ours.
And I love that we don’t match with each other, so many of us might not be friends if it weren’t for this Jesus stuff, and when I saw the conservative-looking dad in bad khakis cinched to his waist, stand beside his teenage son, and witnessed them singing, together, his arm around his son’s shoulders, and that teenage boy, he wrapped his arm around his Dad’s khaki-ed waist, singing, defying every stereotype to find a moment of loving peace in community, I could have gone home right there. (Teenage boys, aren’t you longing for your Daddy to hold you, too? don’t we all?) There were kids playing games on the iPhones, and I watched my friend, a mother of three, dance and dance, elegant, unrestrained as a girl, and I felt like she was dancing for me, too.
We sang songs to worship our God, we sang songs to remember our stories. And when we were quiet, the in-between moments, the Holy Spirit breathing truth, all of us remembering the desert, smelling of earth and coffee and breakfast, and the crop of new babies cried, and a kid laughed with his dad, and we all exhaled, before our preacher tossed his notes away behind the podium, and opened up his Bible.
He read the story of the Prodigal Son, and his voice cracked, and we all cried, have you ever really read it? we wondered, how had we forgotten the Good News?
And the Word of God was enough for us, again, always, always, enough, blessed be the name of the Lord.