Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Meeting Him in the Warmth of the Evening

We've been going to evening church lately instead of going to the small group that we're a part of that meets on Sunday nights. The other night I enjoyed it so and I got to thinking about just why.

It was so warm and relaxed and I honestly felt the Lord's embrace. It was a sensory experience to be sure.

Evening church is so different from morning worship at our little house of faith.

The doors are flung open wide and the sun pours in not just through the stained glass, but through wide open-hearted Methodist doors. The give me a sense of freedom and they make worship just a little more relaxing for the momma with the preschooler who drank a little too much apple juice before the service and is a little too bathroom minded that evening.

The crisp air-conditioned breeze probably carefully adjusted to accommodate men in suits is a thing of the morning and the air is much more pleasantly warm, though not to the point of stuffiness.

The preschooler I mentioned? She draws quietly and whispers her little thoughts in my ear, just like earlier than morning. But this time, I let her take off her too tight shoes and even allow her lie down under the pew to color. Because there are no condescending glances at this time of day. No one seems to know how to better parent her than I do. We sit close to the back anyway and with fewer people in attendance, I doubt her sweet sprawled flower child looking self is even noticed. I say that, but at the end several older ladies (and one gentlemen!) squeeze my arm and tell me what a good job I'm doing with her. I don't tell them, because I might cry, but that's just the shot I of encouragement I needed to face the next week with her and her brother.

The preaching is wholly different, too. It's a little more camp-meeting. A little more old school revival. A little more holiness movement. A little more John Wesley, if I'm being honest. A little more Gospel, if I'm being really honest.

It's really the best picture of the church I've known in my adult life. The church that I am physically comfortable in. The church that allows me to mother the way I see fit. The church that encourages and affirms me. But also the church that allows God to speak through it to call me to a deeper love for inspired action...and to a grace and love that are entirely impossible to achieve in my own strength. A church that reminds me that before I can pray "fill me to overflowing" I must pray "stretch me so you can fill me, Lord!" Praise God for the Body of Christ and for the Lord's Spirit-filled messengers. And praise him for warm sanctuaries, open doors, and tiny barefoot girls, too!

"Taste and see that the LORD is good..." -Psalm 34:8

1 comment:

Mallory Pickering said...

Wow! So well-written. Thoughtful and intentional. I love this so much! You should submit it somewhere. Like to a blog that discusses the contemporary church.