I finally took the plunge and went to the New Heights Church service. I realize now I am quite terrified of being disappointed in New Heights. I yearn to be a part of a group of Jesus followers, but I’m scared that I won’t be accepted–or that there will be some value the church holds. that I can’t handle.
I share in the previous blog how I had such a challenging evening having a fight with my husband. It was so bad, I was on the verge of creating conditions that would prevent me from going to the church service. Maybe on some level my scared and vulnerable inner child who has been hurt so much was trying to help me out by supporting me in not taking a risk of reaching out. I suppose it could have been the devil trying to keep me from connecting as well. These are deep topics that deserve more attention than I can give to them right now.
But things worked out. In spite of many obstacles, I arrived at New Heights Church. I sat in the very front row. I felt very inspired by the songs sung by the worship team, the message given by one of the pastors, and more inspiring songs which were sung during communion. I really loved how communion was presented. There were tables all around the periphery of where people sat (in the gym of the Boys and Girls Club) which had the grape juice and bread available. During the ten minutes or so of the worship team singing, people, Be could go to the tables at any time.
During the first song, I prayed unto God to help me with my financial challenges and all kinds of other prayers that flowed from my heart. I found myself being prompted to cry out to God on my face. I have learned that there are many postures for prayer that are effective and demonstrated in the bible. I notice that when I am on my face, my prayers take on an intensity and cleansing power than any other posture.
I resisted the temptation to fall on my face, wondering what people might think. But I also said, “Jesus, if this is what you want, I will do it. I know it is more important what you think than what others think.” And soon I found myself on my face, sobbing and shaking with spoken and unspoken prayers to God. I was so glad there was kleenex available which I had stuffed in my pocket before the service.
After the song, I was back in my seat, enjoying the wonderful music and lyrics. God was not through with me, it seemed.
During one of the next songs I felt inspired to dance. The words of the song almost demanded physical expression. I found myself torn. Here I was in the front row–dancing there was going to appear like a performance. Should I not go into the back of the room so I wouldn’t make a spectacle of myself?After all, this was my first service. I didn’t want people to think I was a show off.
But the Holy Spirit seemed to have other plans. I found myself first moving my arms slowly, then with more expression, then my whole body was moving. Yes, part of me was still self-conscious and thinking, “What will people think,” and most of me felt swept up in blissful connection to Spirit and my dance was pure worship unto the Lord.
I was so glad I could take communion now, feeling more connected to God than when I had when I first arrived. I also went to the side where the pastor had said there were people ready to pray with me. I didn’t know who was ready to pray with me and was feeling rather shy–so I prayed alone.
After the service, all of which was so inspiring, a radiant young woman came up to me and said lovingly, “I loved your dancing.” I was writing a prayer on a prayer request card, and I think she didn’t want to interrupt me. I said thank you, and she walked away.
Then she came back again, and initiated a conversation. It was kind of wierd–I wasn’t sure if she was the same person who had told me she enjoyed my dancing–but when I asked her later, she said she was.
We found we had so much in common. We had a wonderful talk and I appreciated hearing her passion for loving people who had issues with Christianity and Jesus–mostly because they had such bad experiences with Christians. She also had many friends who were gay and liberal, who saw things differently–but she had no desire to attempt to convert them by telling them they were wrong or going to hell. She valued being Christ’s hands and feet to everyone. Although she didn’t say this, I am pretty sure she would agree with the idea I have heard that we of ourselves can not bring anyone to Jesus–it is the Holy Spirit that does the work.
One topic we touched upon was the issue of homosexuality. She agreed that this was a topic that was not black and white as to whether or not it was a sin. She, like I, had many gay friends who she did not want to alienate by judging them as sinful. I know we will be talking more about this issue.
I look forward to connecting with her more and exploring how we can support each other and connect. I felt as if I had made a new friend, possibly a kindred spirit. I thought that perhaps God lead me to dance partly so that she could see me and realize that she wanted to reach out to me.
I also talked to a woman who was in charge of the prayer team in a local organization that ministers to people who have crises pregnancies. She was very inspiring and encouraging.
I even talked to the worship pastor, and found that I did not have to be a member of the church to part of the worship team. They do not have the same worship team every week, but rotate among about 40 musicians. I made an appointment for an audition, and look forward to seeing how that will go.
I left the service feeling uplifted and joyous and hopeful. Maybe this could be a place I could belong. We shall see.