Sunday, December 4, 2016

An Explosion of Worship

Last Sunday, some friends in Tulsa invited me to join them for their weekly Sunday night singing group at Christ the King Church. These are folks that love singing and worshipping God -- but, not just singing, they are a musical ensemble of singers that CAN really sing. Four-part harmonies par excellence! Not only was I awe-struck at their love for singing, but they welcomed me in to sing with them, and then they had me stand in the center of them while they placed their hands on me and prayed for God's leading and guidance in my life. I was so touched by their love and kindness.

But when I first arrived at the church, the doors that I thought I should go in, were all locked. I tried them all. I thought that just maybe they had canceled their meeting, but I pursued my quest and as I drove around the church, I saw my friend's parked car and then I saw a brightly lit front porch at the church and it invited me in. As I walked through that door, I heard a magnificent sound of a Gregorian chant being sung by a melodious choir of singers coming from down the hall. But what struck me as I walked through that door was this Manger Scene that was beckoning me to it. In fact, I turned on a brighter light in that room so I could get this photo. The music I was hearing in the background, combined with the beauty of this manger scene caused me to pause and worship. I recognized the manger scene isn't just a display of what we know as the "Christmas Story", but that scene before me was an explosion of worship and adoration. Notice that each character, whether it be the shepherds, the wise men with their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrhh, the angels -- even the animals that God created, were worshipping this newborn King. Advent and Christmas are about worship. Worshipping He who left the glories of heaven to take on human flesh to be one of us, to be acquainted with our frailities, our needs, our challenges and our concerns. In fact, even more so does He relate to us and says "I understand, and I came to bring you hope and assurance that you will conquer!"

As I finally made it past that gorgeous manger scene, I followed the singing, passed a magnificent dining room, and entered the room that the music was coming from -- it was a living room....with no choir ensemble. I realized that I might just be in someone's home instead of the room the musical group was meeting in, when I turned the corner and there was a kitchen where Monsignor Dan Mueggenburg was at his kitchen table, meeting with another priest. He looked up, shocked to see me, and my quick hand to my opened mouth, certainly revealed my shock. I was in the rectory -- not the church! Msgr Dan was gracious in escorting me to the front door and pointing the way where the church's small chapel was and where the group was actually meeting. I even smile big now as I recollect that night. An "oops" accident? No, for me, it was one of those divine encounters with God's perfect orchestration of putting me at the right place at the right time to know, just a little more clearly, that "There are no accidents with God, and even the smallest coincidences and signs are part of His love, His divine plan for us, and even opportunities to worship Him!"

Just a reminder to us all -- this beautiful season of Advent and Christmas is brought to us by the Creator of us -- Himself. Let's be sure to give Him the time and thanks for loving us so much that He decided to make this earth His home.....just long enough for us to relate to Him in His humanness, but then to give Him the worship and the praise and the honor for starting as a seed in a peasant girl then to a manger to a cross and dying for us....so that we can live with Him forever. I'd say that's the GREATEST GIFT given to us -- let's unwrap THE GIFT and share it everywhere we go!