Thursday, July 9, 2015

10 Things Learned at the Altar

It's been over 2 weeks since I've posted anything on this blog. My mind has been focused elsewhere (in particular, on a "real" sermon I get to write and preach in a couple weeks). But still, I think this is the longest break I've taken since I started this almost 3 years ago. It's hard to believe I've already had this blog for that long. And, it's hard to believe it's only been that long. It, and God, and the Church, have been so much a part of my life in these few years - and it was such a drastic and sudden change. And yet, I don't think I learned as much in those few years as I have in the past couple days.

I've spent the past two evenings at my church, working on my sermon. Both evenings turned out being complete opposite in my emotions and my productivity. But each evening taught me a lot about myself and my spirituality. Some of these lessons were given me before... it just wasn't until the past couple days that it sunk in. Some of these lessons I understood to a degree before... it just wasn't until the past couple days that a more complete understanding and acceptance filled me. But anyway, before beginning work on the sermon, and periodically while working on it, I would go sit in front of the altar in prayer. Here are a few things that came to light either yesterday evening or this evening...

1) Having someone tell me I am a beloved child of God lifts my heart, even when the voices are chiming in loud and clear "no you're not! He's lying to you!"

2) Having someone pray for me to have peace does give me a little peace, even when the voices try to keep the chaos going.

3) Sitting or kneeling on the floor in front of the altar of an empty church is one of the safest places I have ever been.

4) More often than not, I need to feel God's arms around me in physical form, especially when I am hurting.

5) I have a very difficult time praying out loud, especially when it is a prayer for myself. The words fail me. All I can do is open my heart and let God in.


6) Praying with someone else silently, or with the other person praying out loud, while our hands are linked together, is perhaps the most intense positive experience I've had.

7) When I am really depressed, and sitting within the Church, the chaos in my mind hides, and what remains is pure heartache.

8) Hearts and minds and lives can be changed through through Christ.

9) A cross on the forehead with water gives me an instantaneous feeling of peace.

10) I have truly been blessed by God in so many ways.

Now, as I said, some of these I have learned (and probably written about) before. But for some reason, these past two days, each of these lessons grew as I sat there alone in front of the altar in an empty church.

Some of these others may relate to. Some, perhaps, are just me. And some people, hopefully, have their own lessons they've learned. And for those who've never taken the opportunity to go sit before that altar, I highly recommend it.

God bless

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