I was always restless in church. As a child, I remember being scolded for my inattentiveness to the preacher.
We went to a small church. There was no air conditioning. There were windows that opened to let in the occasional breeze. There were funeral home fans.
I remember gravitating to the open window. I remember hearing the birds sing. I saw people walking on the sidewalk outside.
The sky was so blue. The sun was so bright. The clouds were so fluffy. There was a wonderful breeze that day.
I was overcome with rapture. Even as a five year old, I was having my own worship experience.
The glory in my soul had to be expressed or I felt I would have burst. I expressed it. I talked out loud, drawing the attention of the congregation.
The preacher stopped preaching. The friends and neighbors looked with disapproval at both me and my parents.
Even those who had been soundly sleeping woke up from their naps to add their disapproving looks.
My normally loving parents looked horrified. My mother quickly scooped me up and took me out. I’ll spare you the rest of that day’s story. But the experience has stayed with me.
I love churches with open windows. I resist being packed into in a dark box of a building while being manipulated into how to feel by peppy music followed by slow music. And music that is sometimes so loud I can hardly hear myself sing.
I love going outdoors and singing and dancing with the sun, clouds, moon and stars. I feel connected with God’s Universe and all that He created.
I feel the presence of the “great cloud of witnesses” Paul says surrounds us.
While the pandemic has been awful, it has ushered in changes that were needed in many ways. Perhaps one of them is that we need to come out of the closed in buildings, look up and around us and realize when Jesus said, not only was He in us, but we are in Him.
The whole big beautiful world around us is Him! And He has new music for us to sing!
Five year olds understand. I want that part of me to always live on!
Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!