It was a good day. It was a Sunday during the lent session. I was on my way to church, running late but it didn’t matter, it was a church full of young adults with a casual, “come as you are” vibe. When I arrived, worship had already began. So I found an empty space in one of the side pews near the back and quietly took my place. I entered into the motion of worship with the rest of the congregation.
During lent, Park Church often changes things up. Often scripture and reflection is mingled with the songs. So we sat down and then stood back up in a cadence like fashion. There was rhythm and order to the service as we honored the liturgical pulse.
We rose from our seats, for what I thought was the last time, and began to sing Come Thou Fount. With my heart full, I sang.
And then in an instant, the song transitioned (it was a church equivalent to a mash-up?). I very well knew this song and was angry at the sudden transition. I have been haunted by this song for months. In another entry, I wrote part I of why i hated the song Oceans by Hillsong. Yet, despite my lack of enthusiasm, Oceans was sung out with zeal in the service that morning with the hands of the congregation raised high.
I sat down.
As I rummaged through my purse and pulled out my journal, I began writing an entry of frustration to God, but instead, came across a few notes I had jotted down from my theology class earlier that week. I sat in silence as I read through the chicken scratch notes. They were about hope and how we hold onto hope in the midst of the pain and the struggles of life.
The lyrics of the hymn came back to me as I read the notes,
“Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I’ve come”
I was reminded I needed an ebenezer. I needed to be reminded of God’s goodness in my own life. I needed to be reminded of the times I was in the desert before this and know this too shall pass because it has before. I needed to be reminded of light in the midst of my own confusion and doubt. I needed to be reminded of God’s provision in my own life because God has already had a track record of coming through in my life, but I am so easy to forget who He is.
So I stood, again.
I’m not sure why that day was different from the rest, but for some reason, I started to believe in hope, again. I found God in the remembering. And as I joined in and sang again, sweet tears of hope and freedom rolled down like grace.
Currently, my story has not called me beyond economic borders, social borders, geographic borders, religious borders or even racial borders. In fact, sometimes I wish to be called to another country. Instead, I wrote this blog in the comfort of a nice chair, warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee, on a porch overlooking the mountains. And I still find myself walking on the water as I continue to discover what it means to live fully human in this broken and messy world. There are many reasons I want to clothe myself in shame and hide my insecurities from the world. There are many reasons I do not want to stand and walk. Yet to be alive is to be vulnerable. And when we walk upon the water, we face our fears and we step forth to the unknown because we know Christ is greater than our fears and failures. It is in this kind of intimate knowing, I can stand and begin to sing the song Oceans.
Some days I am still afraid, and some days I do not sing the words in church. They can often seem like too much to handle but God is still there and His grace abounds.