I have been re-reading a book I first read years ago called Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris. It is a beautiful book of a bunch of short reflections on various “churchy words.” In her chapter on Annunciation, she shared the following referring to the ways we enter into worship:
“Use this hour, Lord, to get our perspectives straight again.” Rather than express awe, let alone those negative feelings, fear and trembling, as we come into the presence of God, crying “Holy, Holy, Holy,” we focus totally on ourselves, and arrogantly issue an imperative to God. Use this hour, because we’re busy later; just send us a bill, as any therapist would, and we’ll zip off a check in the mail. But the mystery of worship, which is God’s presence and our response to it, does not work that way.Norris, Kathleen. Amazing Grace (pp. 71-72). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
As I read this a few days ago, it took me back to a section I read a day or so before in Psalm 29:8-9
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
I flashed back to the shore of Lake Norman in North Carolina in November of 2013 when I had a holy (and wholly) transformative experience during a sunset walk. For some period of time that night, I literally was unable to speak but instead the only word that came to me during that time was “Glory!” It was a moment that I have written about at other points (here) but it was unlike really any other time I’ve experienced in my life. The sunset was stunning and I have returned to that photo many times over.
But then yesterday morning, I had another glory moment with the sky. This sunrise that looked remarkably like that Lake Norman sunset but without the red and without the water. But it was a moment that I had not realized what the sunrise was shaping up as until I came out of the trees and saw this and it was a “wow” moment…a “glory” moment…
These moments don’t come every day but I am grateful for when they do. I am grateful for the emphasis that we often do about the deep personal-ness of God, but we cannot lose sight and remembrance of the awe-some-ness, the holiness, and the mystery of God