Saturday, March 30, 2013

3-30/are you here, GOD? it's me, dani...

good morning today is day 13
of my lenten project.
it is also saturday, march 30, 2013.
i want to welcome you.

i decided that i would arrive early
for church and pray at the altar.
i knew GOD would be there!


before ric became pastor 
at our church,
i could probably count on one hand
how many times 
we, as a congregation, had been invited
to the altar to pray.
i personally had only accepted one invitation
as it was the sunday after
i had miscarried...
as i wrote before,
our church was steeped in tradition.
further, our tradition was to use the altar
only for communion.

when ric became our pastor
he gave an open invitation
at the end of every service.
at first there were only a few of us
(mostly those of us who were on
the pastor parish relations committee)
who accepted the invitation.


when i arrived at church
that sunday morning,
i was the only one there.
having a key to the building,
i let myself in and made my way to the sanctuary.
i remember standing
at the entrance
to the rather dark chancel,
our holy of holies,
 only lit
by only that early morning sun,
which could make its way through
the thick, stained-glass windows
adorning the expansive area.

"are you here, GOD?
it's me, dani,"
i asked as i walked down the aisle
leading to the altar.

when i reached "my place"
i knelt,
 rested my elbows,
put my hands together
(intertwining my fingers),
bowed my head,
and began to pray.

it started something like this...

i want to invite YOU to join us here today.
i want YOU to feel welcomed
and loved.
i love YOU, FATHER.
YOU know our church has been through
so much turmoil
over the past several years.
i know YOU have had nothing to do with it!
this church has acted as our church...
not YOUR church.
please forgive us.
please come unto us,
and help us heal.
YOU are an awesome GOD;
YOU reign!
 i love YOU so much.
i know YOU have the power
to soften hardened hearts
and allow their bearers
to love and be loved
in return.
i don't know exactly
what ric's intentions are for this morning,
but please be with him.
allow him to use YOUR healing words.
we need YOU, FATHER, please!


as i was praying,
i heard the foyer area doors open;
i heard muddled voices.
then i heard the footsteps of someone
walking down the aisle of the sanctuary.
i felt the presence of someone behind me.

i stopped praying and turned
to see a fellow parishioner
sitting in "her seat" on the front pew.
she had sat in that same spot for as long
as i had been a member of the church.
anita was special.

when our eyes met
i smiled.
in return
she did as well.

i gathered myself,
walked over to her,
bent over and hugged her,
taking her hand in mine
sat down next to her.

"now, what are you doing here so early?"
she asked me with her stereotypical,
kentucky drawl.

"i came to pray," i answered her.

"you know, i had a dream about you last night,"
she said matter-of-factly.

"you did?" i responded.

"yeah, ric was in it too," she continued.

"do you remember it?" i asked.

"yeah, there was a big, long line
all waiting to meet JESUS. 
i was there too," she awkwardly giggled.

"were we in heaven?" i asked.

"i don't know, but we wernt dead..."
she nervously rubbed her chin
with her knuckles thinking.
"at least i don't thank we were,"
again, she awkwardly chuckled.

"do you remember anything else?"
i waited with bated breath...

"yeah, you said you were there
for 'healin'."


my adrenaline began to flow
like no body's business!
i asked her if she would like
to join me at the altar to pray for healing.
she accepted my offer.
there the two of us prayed together...
for a while, it was just the two of us.

when my dear friend,
arrived i asked anita if i could share her 
dream with dawn.
she turned and looked up at dawn
(as if she was sizing whether to allow me to share her story).
she cocked her head to the side
and looked at me with the face 
of a child in disbelief.
"she was in that line too."

after sharing with dawn,
dawn knelt on the other side of the altar
and began praying with us.

within moments of my retreating
back to the kneeler,
my body got hot,
i began to feel weak,
my legs bent beneath me
turned to jelly.

i knew...


"for where two or three gather in my name,
there I am with them." 
(niv matthew 18:20)

love and GOD's blessings,
dani xxx

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