'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!'
Excitedly I applied my makeup. A part of the worship team was traveling to a little church in another Valley town and I was one of them. A Hawaiian worship team member, Lyle, was stretching his wings and had been tapped to lead us. Lyle sang melody and played guitar. I sang harmony, with just a couple more vocalists. Then there was a drummer and bass player.
My home church at that time filled with more than 1,500 on Sundays, so we looked forward to minister to this smaller congregation.
We pulled up. Hmmm. It was a store front and not a very wide store front. Well, many good churches have started this way. What difference does it all make? Whether a teeming meeting center, a prison chapel, a modest living room, or this rented business space, our mission was to elevate the King of Kings and to come into the presence of God.
Still, as we unloaded the sound equipment, instruments, and the music stands I could not help but wonder about the people who came here to seek solace within these walls each week.
We warmed up and found that the acoustics were not really the best, but everything was calibrated to sound as pleasing as possible.
A few people started to arrive while we were worshiping and praying over the service. They received us with hugs and grinned as they thanked us for taking the time and trouble to drive so far.
I didn't feel anything special about our pre-prayer time or the practice. I even felt a little sleepy after the ride over, but on the way we all were preparing our hearts and praying over the people who would arrive and join us.
I can remember hearing us sing, and though our sound was down some from what we were used to, I had difficulty hearing many from the 12 or so there. I also remember thinking how small the group was and that the church looked empty with so many more vacant chairs staring at us than those that were occupied.
I breathed in and focused on the messages we were singing and I prayed that we would bless and encourage these faithful souls. I was praying silently as I was singing and enjoying the serenity of weaving the voices as we harmonized by ear.
Then I heard it. It was so distinct that I turned my head to look to my left. I was expecting to see a new group of worshipers on the other side of the room. But no one was there. Yet I could hear clearly... other voices singing beautifully, passionately intertwining their melodies with ours.
I looked around to see if anyone else recognized the extra voices. No one else seemed to be experiencing anything different. Could I be imagining things? No, as I closed my eyes and fervently sang on as if I was just singing alone to God himself I felt my body warm and then the smell of vanilla began to faintly stir around me. Again, I heard the additional voices. This time a little softer than before, but still very clearly not just from our group and the church members.
Those precious moments could not last long enough, but the chorus came to an end. My heart stirred. My whole being energized from the presence of God, but a little grin crept from one corner of my mouth to the other and I just had to chuckle aloud. Praise God!
Sometimes, when I am asked how I know God exists and why I am so sure of my faith, I just have to let the grin roll out and chuckle. Uh huh. He reminds me ever so often that I am his own and that he is mine. Just little glimpses here and there that solidify my faith in what he says in his word.
Some day I will hear heavenly beings worship and praise with no holds barred. What a glorious experience that will be! I will never tire of it.
There in that barren, folding chair adorned room, I tasted a bit of the glory of holy beings without guile, without wrong motivation, with all eyes on Jesus, with all their might joining along with our humble little ragtag group, and turning it into royalty.
Remember who you are. We are only here for a while and then we return home.