Monday, January 22, 2007

Being Pentecostal

I went to my parents church last night. It's not a bad church, it's just a church that I'm glad I only attend once a month.

The people there are kind and appear faithful, they've always been gracious to me and I hope that this post will be gracious to them as well. I'm praying this post will appear as it simply is, comments on the night, and not as complaints on the night.

Every thing was absolutely routine until we came to the end of the service. The pastor called for prayer time at the altars and the men and women split to their two different sections (they're hardcore Assembly of God) and began to pray.

As I tried to pray I could not have been more distracted if someone had tried to pluck a chicken at the altar. To my left a woman was speaking in tongues and laughing between the words of her prayer. To my right, another lady crying and speaking in tongues. On the pew in front of me, another lady weeping. To add to all that, the pastor of the church has an absolutely booming voice. I could have gone outside during the prayer time and still understood every word of his prayer.

Trying to block out the sound was -- short of a miracle -- impossible.

So I decided to try and merge into it. The old saying of "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" came to mind.
That didn't work either.

I could only kneel there and try to imagine God, looking down from His heaven and watching us. With all the women around me wailing, the pastor booming, and me kneeling quietly with my eyes scrunched shut I imagined sticking out in the scene like a sore thumb. Picturing moments like that make me believe God enjoys me. If for no reason but that I'm good for a chuckle every now and then.

When I finally stopped trying and just sat listening to the noise I found that I enjoyed being surrounded by the loudness of their worship. I enjoyed it that is, until my brain kicked in and asked, 'Is this really worship?"

We had a 'worship service' where we were suppose to sing our praises to God. And, except for the pastors booming voice, it was relatively quiet. It was more lively than my churches worship service, but that's not a good measuring stick to hold it to yet.
This might be unkind, but I wonder as they bent their knee to pray to God, if the only reason they finally got loud and fervent was because it concerned something they wanted.

I told you it was probably unkind.

I'm sure I could be accused of the same thing a thousand times over, but I hope it's not true. May I weep because I long to be in Gods will. May I weep because of the wickedness of my heart. May I weep in gratitude because of the goodness of my God. May I weep because He is indeed MY God.

I hope I never weep for a new car, new house, more money. Some things just aren't worth crying over.

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