"he delivered me, because he delighted in me."
Last night we were treated to a wonderful worship service led by the McDonald, PA Presbyterian Church Praise Team. We started a little late as we all puzzled over cords and microphones and sound levels and computer projectors. But we finally got things pretty together.
About 50 of us gathered to hear the music, to be filled by the Spirit, to hear (and see) testimonies of faith, to share communion and fellowship. I learned several things last night. I can hook up additional mikes into the system. I don't know a thing about "mixing" the various mikes for the best result (with no whistling.) I learned that 30 seconds is too long to warm up frozen communion bread; it turns into a rock that you cannot use for intinction.
I also learned that new music - praise music - can send me to those holy places as much as my favorite traditional hymns. I don't like very praise hymn, but I don't like every traditional hymn either. When I leave myself open to the Spirit, amazing things can happen.
There was one song in particular last night whose title escapes me (as most things in my short term memory bank). The song, though, I remember was raw with emotion about our human condition. It lifted up the struggles of every day living and how low we can feel - how helpless. The Good News was that God walked with us in everything. God lifted us. As the chorus repeated each time, I was quite tearful. How it hit in such a meaningful way what it means to be an average person, struggling through life, trying to do good, and feeling beat down and lonely sometimes. And as well as it defined how bad it could feel, it described the relief we can feel in God's arms.
The psalms, the song-book of the Bible, also contains the raw emotion of being human and trying to figure out our relationship with the world and God. Psalm 18 begins with praises of the Lord, acknowledgements of how the Lord is our fortress. In vivid and fantastic detail, the psalmist describes just how bad things can get and how God intervenes in the darkest of times. "He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters."
Why? Why does God so care about us mere mortals, about our daily challenges? "because he delighted in me."
To think, Our Fortress and Our Rock, that you delight in us. We can make a pretty big mess out of our lives. We can be in a mess because of circumstances. Forgive us in those times of unbelief - forgive us when we think that you are not paying attention or that you are not there. You are always there, our shield and horn of salvation. You go to any extreme to reach out to us for no other reason than you delight in us. How delighted we are by your love.
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