Sunday, April 12, 2009

Good Friday Worship Watch

On the night of Good Friday, my church had a twelve hour worship watch. Six bands would divide the time between them so there would be music by which to worship the entire time. One corner of the room was draped with chiffon as a special place to sit, kneel, stand or lie on the floor to soak in God’s presence. In the centre, chairs were set in rows, but most of the sanctuary was clear floor space. Everyone was welcome to worship and pray before God in the manner they preferred.

A large roll of paper was stretched out on the floor with paints, crayons, markers and pens. One woman lay on the floor as she painted. Another knelt. Children in pajamas, nightgowns and housecoats, who were staying the night, sat cross-legged in a circle near a teacher leaning against a pillar, drawing and colouring.

Near the sound booth, a couple had created a nest for themselves with sleeping bags and pillows, worshipping and praying. Other sleeping bags were stowed to be opened when needed.

One man prayed with a Jewish prayer shawl and yarmulke.

A cluster of people—a teen girl with bleached hair, a young man with dreadlocks, an older man with grey hair, a scruffy, unkempt neighbour with arm outstretched and more—sat together, praying for a young woman. Off in a corner was a smaller cluster praying. Two people were ministering to a woman laid out on the floor. One of the men from the streets was praying for and encouraging a well-dressed woman in tears.

Then there were the dancers. A young native woman danced with a large scarf and bells tied around her ankles that tinkled when she moved. An older Caucasian woman swung a large flag vigorously around the room. Later she was dancing energetically with a large scarf. A native grandmother danced in her soft leather moccasins with many different props. A man from the streets danced with his mud-crusted wheelchair waving long, colourful ribbons and spinning his chair in pirouettes as a young woman danced with him. Two women with classical training danced their prayers with graceful movements.

I sat in a corner worshipping, praying and watching. There are so many ways to express our love and devotion to God—to come to him with the diversity with which he made us. I am grateful for a church that not only allows but encourages that diversity. Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!

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