What a sacrifice that saved my life…
There are some moments when the Holy Spirit is so present, so vibrant, so palatable that I can feel his physical touch. Last night was one of those nights for me. The sounds and sights and the presence of God stayed with me as I dreamt and slept. This morning still feels holy and rich with God’s presence. This must be a taste of what Heaven will be like.
I’ve been planning worship for my whole adult life, I don’t even remember when or how I got started, it has just always been something that I’ve done. Christmas and Easter roll around every year with such predictability and each year I have the opportunity to work with a team to create a special “moment”, one people will remember. I’ve planned big dramatic events, quiet eery settings, choral pieces, crazy fun…you name it we’ve tried it. And yet in all that planning, it is the moments that are unplanned or rather, “God planned” that surprise me and leave me in awe at how real and personal and intimate the Father of the Universe truly is. The moments I remember most are usually the times when what I’ve planned turns into something so much bigger and more incredible than anything we could have hoped for.
There are times when I’m leading worship when everything around me fades away and suddenly the voices in the room that are singing swell 10x the volume that could be explained. I’ve experienced times when I’ve actually heard my grandmother’s voice singing along with everyone else even though she’s been gone from this earth for years. As a child, I remember singing and looking out the windows where the walls met the ceiling in the church I grew up in and seeing the clouds roll past and thinking that God was listening. Or having my body racked with sobs of anguish as the weight of my sin was realized through hearing the sound of a hammer on Good Friday.
Last night, was one of those holy nights. One that was planned but unplanned, when God came and surprised me by his presence and left me in awe. It was a Maundy Thursday service, when as a congregation we remember and celebrate Christ’s last supper. It’s always a night full of contemplation and confession. It is planned to be a night where we remember Jesus sacrifice.
Last night, sometime during the service, the room filled with holiness and we were no longer being led by the team on stage but rather by God himself.
Small groups of people came forward to share communion together as we sang hymns and watched the pastors say over and over, “This is my body, this is my blood shed for you.” As each person ate the bread and drank the juice they then picked up a candle, lit it and went back to their seats. Over a period of time, candle light lit up the room and from where I was sitting, faces began to appear out of the darkness with glowing light around them. It was a beautiful moment.
Then this scripture, “They took Jesus to the high priest and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Then some stood up and gave false testimony against him. They all condemned him as worthy of death.”
My part was to cue the music and start singing the next song…”O the blood” What I didn’t expect was the wave of voices that started singing with us. A cry so loud from the people we were worshiping with that we didn’t need any microphones or amplification. The singing was unlike all the other singing we had done. My brothers and sisters singing, “O the blood, crimson love, price of life’s demand. Shameful sin placed on him the Hope of every man. O the blood of Jesus washes me. O the blood of Jesus shed for me. What a sacrifice, that saved my life, yes the blood it is my victory.” One by one, people stood with candles in their hands, singing and crying and aching with confession and thanksgiving. It was otherworldly. It was holy.
This life, the one we know here on earth…it can’t be all there is. I believe that this is just the beginning. I believe that through Christ’s sacrifice, he has made us clean and acceptable before our heavenly Father. I am so grateful for these small tastes of heaven, of what it means to truly praise the creator of the universe.
What a sacrifice, that saved my life, yes, the blood it is my victory.