John 6 - starting in verse 32
Jesus said, "I assure you, Moses didn't give them bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
"Sir," they said, "give us that bread every day of our lives."
Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst."
I just felt so strong after I read that and it was spoken in the service today. So grounded in the knowledge that while there is so much going on around me, I can know with all that I am, that He is going before me to make a way. That I’m completely uncomfortable where I am now so that when it IS time to go and do, that my heart is more than ready and my mind is fixed to do His will, not mine. How for truly the first time...since I can never remember...that I feel new. I feel greatly restored after several years of being torn apart not only by my actions but by the actions of others. Such loss, such a scattering of precious life within me. Time that was wasted, but not in vain.
And now...this week has been such a contrast to that! It has been a filling of my soul that only God could provide. A restoration of yet another part of me, retuned to me, in abundance. I wish I could elaborate what this last week has been like, but I’m almost glad I’m not able to. Such an incredibly personal, private and amazing experience to see God work in my life. To know that He has done this for me, that he has restored me. It’s been awesome - and I’m glad that God knows just how much that silly little word (awesome) can mean coming from such a grateful heart.
Caught without my camera today.
I need to get past that personal failure.
It would have helped to bring you into my moment. To bring you in so that you could see what I saw and heard and experienced. It was pretty amazing. Ha, bet you thought I was going to say awesome...yeah, it was awesome too!!
For several months now, OCF designated its rather large Youth Room to a Haitian church who was in the midst of looking for a more permanent space. The youth area backs right up to our sanctuary, so while we couldn’t hear the words to their songs, we could always hear the beat. Every Sunday morning, just as our pastor would get up to pray and start his sermon - the Haitian church would begin their service with “making a joyful noise to the Lord” (and I mean that in a nice way - not in a “they were making a noise” way - in a “they were making a most joyful sound to the Lord with their talents”, way) Admittedly the first couple of times it was distracting, but...it became such a part of what Sunday was all about for all of us, that instead of being distracted I began to see it as another way to usher in time with God. Sometimes Jeff would start snapping his fingers and moving his hips to the beat and say “Just like clock work...I love it!”.
What a privilege it has been as a Greeter, to see their smiling faces, heartfelt hello’s, and warm handshakes. What made me laugh one day was to be witness to a “universal thing” - to see that their children have meltdown’s just like ours. As parents, they too are mortified to bring a hysterical and crying child through the doors. I love that it’s always followed up later in the morning by sweet, sweet giggles.
And on a superficial level, let me also say a word about the way they dress..oh their clothes!! Dressed to the nine’s every single Sunday - pantyhose and all!!! (I’m not even sure I still own a pair!) See, OCF is a come as you are kind of “dress code” - flip flops to a fur coat - come as you are because there is freedom in this place. I can only imagine what they must have thought of us!! To witness such a stark contrast to this part of their worship - coming before God, dressed to show respect. I guess that’s how I see it. I can’t really say that’s how THEY see it, but that’s why I imagine they are dressed so impeccably.
Well one of the other things they do so beautifully besides smile and laugh from a happy heart (and dress impeccably), is cook. Since this was their last Sunday they cooked a feast to share with us as a thank you. My friend Tony said “It’s just part of their culture - they cook as an expression of love. Like bIack people - if they love you, their gonna feed you.” That comment coming from a black man, made me giggle and say “I like that line of thinking!!”. So greeting today...was a tough thing to do. I could smell each pan of food being brought in. Oh my...I felt loved.
But the story doesn’t start there - it ends there. The entire Haitian church joined us for service today. After our time of worship music we took a fellowship break then came back into the sanctuary. Their pastor came up to say a few word of thanks, then two young boys - one was maybe 15, the other was no older than 12 - played guitar while the offering was taken up. Afterwards those two were joined by a drummer - no older than 12!! 5 adult women came up to sing and their pastor led on the keyboard. We sat and listened and clapped...we didn’t know enough about their time of worship to know if it would be ok to stand & we certainly couldn’t sing with them cause they sang in French...at first I thought my hearing was going cause I couldn’t understand a word! Finally their pastor lifted his hand up to invite us to stand and worship with them...it rocked. The ladies began to sing with more passion and in fact one of them stuck the microphone under her arm so she could raise both hands to God. The young boys were so intent on what they were doing, and their pastor just played with a joyful heart and a smile from ear to ear. A couple of rows behind us were several other members of their congregation singing with their hearts - you could just hear it in their voices. I just stood their clapping to the beat with what I am sure, was a big ole goofy grin on my face. But to spite what I saw as differences in our ways of worship...our joy and praise...was universal.
As wonderful as all of it was, I simply became mesmerized by these three young boys who were playing. Here’s how I saw them...I think that being part of a praise and worship team is such a dedication of time and talent that really only “adults” could shoulder. There would be too many other things that would compete with a “child’s” time to truly devote to practice. Not these kids - in my mind they play “just because”...because there is a need in that church right now for them to do that...because they have God given talents to do so, and to not do it would be a crime and disservice to their congregation...because it’s their own form of worship to God, regardless of their age. They truly did “hold their own” so to speak and played as well as some adults I’ve heard!!! It seemed like such a normal thing for them to do...it was awesome.
I tend to see things differently so maybe it’s not a big deal to them or to anyone else - and that’s ok! I was simply blown away though..and they really were good..and you really could see pure joy on their faces...and I really was touched by their music and words of thanks.
And I was REALLY touched when I got to eat Haitian style food...really. I missed it last time they cooked..not this time though - I was cuttin line, pushin kids and adults out of the way.
I have issues, I know this. They are not big enough to have ACTUALLY done any of those things, but mentally...mentally that's where my game was - it was every man, woman and child for themselves and I was justified!!! I needed me some Haitian food made with love. I needed to feel the love!!!
Meanwhile back in the real world...there were several different kinds of chicken and pork, and a shrimp & pasta dish, mac & cheese, several different kinds of rice, a purple colored potato dish which had to have been colored by beets, a big ole salad and what I thought was a creamed spinach type dish. Oh, and there was this spicy vegetable relish side dish thingy that I literally rolled my eyes at the first time I tasted it. Crunchy and spicy and so full of flavor!! Oh MAN it was gooooooodddddddd - all of it. I sampled a little bit of all of it, so I can say that with confidence. Trust me, I’ll be Googling “ spicy Haitian slaw” today!!!
I sat and I ate...and was filled... filled by more than just the food...I was filled to the point of overflowing in my stomach, in my heart, in my head, in my soul. It was a great day to be me.
Reason 1,483 that I freakin’ love my life and know that it rocks.
Thanks for stopping by to spend some time with me!!