Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Worship was in full swing when we walked in. Strobe lights flashed through the darkened chamber while soft fog emanated from the stage. Hundreds of arms flailed like palm branches in a typhoon while still-attached bodies swayed gently to the rhythm. We used our finest evasive maneuvers to chart a course to the safety of the stadium seats. Once settled I turned to observe the ritual chants.
A thousand heads lifted to heaven; a thousand untrained voices shouted an anthem at feverish crescendo. We were in time for the climax. The room erupted in applause while the drummer pounded everything within reach. Rejoicing ensued.
On queue the music slowed as the guy in front spoke softly into the microphone, his voice fraught with emotion. I don’t know what he said but it was quite sobering. The smiles were replaced by tears and the swaying became methodical.
Like a fortress in a storm I was unmoved. I had let the music carry me before and I would not make that mistake again. I’d tricked myself too many times to believe for change simply because I felt warm inside. This time it would have to be the words I decided. If there's anything left to be softened it can’t take my emotions like a shortcut.
The music and lights finally relented. A quick prayer, announcements, and hugs with strangers before I slouched in my chair. The preacher strode to the stage, good-looking as ever, and announced that life was full of trials. Behind him there was a picture of some fishermen in a storm. I recognized the photo from a movie where everybody dies. My cynicism was getting the better of me.
Now I’m processing papers for people I hired. Who does that? Why would I be excited about celebrating at church? I don’t want to read my Bible, I don’t want to pray, and I definitely don’t want to sing. I still love Him a lot, and I know He loves me. I just don’t feel like hanging out right now. I hope that’s OK.