Sometimes I go to church and I am just there. Some Sundays I soak up little bits and pieces, trying to grasp with my hands the fleeting, holy moments as they pass me by. And then some precious Sunday mornings are so full that I feel like if Jesus gave me the Holy Spirit to drink in a giant soup bowl, I could not be any more filled with His presence. Yesterday was like that. I wanted to run straight home and write about watching the baptisms and singing to the Lord with gladness. I went to teach my sweet little 2 year olds with a tear streaked face. When Mary Polly and her friend complained that a particular testimony was too long, I said (maybe a little too emphatically) that it is beautiful to hear the story of how God has captured someone’s heart and sometimes he chases us for a long time before we listen and we should be willing to sit in church for as long as there are stories to be told of His faithfulness, because what else could possibly be more important! Is your mom crazy, her friend said with her eyes. Oh yes, Mary Polly said back with hers.
A couple of weeks ago we sang these words at BSF. They are from a hymn that is not even my favorite, but I guess after singing it over and over I finally noticed these phrases hidden in this one verse of this hymn, and I have sort of grabbed onto them. Writing them down. Singing them. Saying them to hurting friends.
Set up thy throne
That earth’s despairs may cease
Beneath the shadow
Of its healing peace
I love every single phrase. I have been asking God to set up His throne. I have been hoping for earth’s despairs…broken relationships, suffering children, violence…to cease. I want to crawl underneath His throne and feel its healing peace, its shadow all around me. I have come back to these words every time I have heard a sad story in the last couple of weeks, and they have been solace. And on Baptism Sunday, for a few minutes, as I looked around the room and saw families gathered to watch one person declare their heart for God or an aunt, standing with arms lifted in gratitude for the answered prayer of a sweet niece’s faith, I remembered the words Set up thy throne, and I felt that I was seeing it. His kingdom coming.
I wanted to come right home and write about it. But then I went to see The Secret Life of Bees. I cried for the entire movie, just like I did when I read the book. I had to take off my glasses because they don’t have windshield wipers. I wanted to reach out and hug all the people on the screen. I wanted to transport myself to that porch. To build a wailing wall. I cried and cried and cried. I was so glad I went with friends.
And instead of coming home and writing as planned, I walked into my house, very slowly. I ate a bowl of 44-clove garlic soup, drank a cup of honey vanilla chamomile tea and crawled into bed. At 8:30. I highly recommend the soup. And the movie.
Oh, and baptism.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.