Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yonder Sanctuary

The day started with my momma waking me, making sure that I was going to go to church. I mumbled something Tarzan-like along the lines of, “Yes. Get up... 8:30.” Since I’d not been to church since I was a little girl (something that I don’t really remember), I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I know what church is about. Who doesn’t? Church is all about God, who you can still have a close relationship with...without leaving the comfort of your home. Since I’m an introvert who loves to read, I’ve always preferred staying at home to read the Bible.

If my brother-in-law, Ricky, hadn’t asked momma about going to church, we wouldn’t have gone. I was hesitant at first, because new situations always leave me feeling really off-center, but I decided to go since I knew it would make momma happy. If she asked me to, I would set the world on fire for that woman.

The Burnt Mountain Holy Bible Church is located in what one of my sisters calls “the boondocks.” The church is small and white, without many places to park. The congregation consisted of less than a dozen people, with me and my family about half of that number. Still, none of this deterred me in the slightest. After all, His presence is felt strongest in places and people where we least expect it.

When the service started, we sang a few songs. I shared a hymnal with my brother, though both of us weren’t sure about singing at first. Surprisingly, though he’s the extrovert, I started singing first and he followed. My brother-in-law sang solo a song or two, then volunteered me to sing. I felt my heart stop. Me... sing... by myself? Thankfully, my kid sister, who can sing who I am so proud of, walked up and sang center stage. She didn’t shake at all. I probably would have passed out, or come close.

The preacher did an outstanding job. He touched my soul with the personal stories that he shared, and the energy for life he showed, especially for someone in his eighties. I also loved how he thought of Heaven as “over yonder.” What a sweet Southern man!

Of the verses he read, he chose one that has always resonated with me, and is actually my favorite Bible verse. I memorized it years ago, when I first started learning to read. Hearing this was a definite sign that I was in the right place.

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

An hour or so after the church service, I spoke with my sister, Natalie, about how sunlight seems so much cleaner when we know what it truly represents—His power shining down on us. Often, when I’m upset with the world, I often think to myself, “The sunshine is free. I can’t stay upset for long.” Until today, I didn’t really consider what else sunshine means, because there’s more to it than freedom; more than growth. God ensures that, no matter how rough the storm, He will always bring sunshine to link our spiritual connection to him.

Let me close with a poem I wrote today (which actually touches on the themes covered today):

“Yonder Sanctuary”

boondocks church
made the light
cleaner, purer
than it’s been
in ages

long, winding roads
lead to faith, love,

let me hold this
to my heart,
O’ Lord,
until that hour
of yonder sanctuary

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