Thursday, September 06, 2007

Be Thou my Vision

I seem to be getting half of my post titles from songs :) but anyway, today I was listening to this local artist Dave Villano who just does instrumental stuff and the song Be Thou my Vision was on there and I started thinking about my old church in Denver. Though I wasn't Christian, it was the first place where I found God. I was baptized Catholic and attempted to learn stuff from the Bible. I remember really clearly talking to one of my best friend that also went to my church who was having issues with another girl. I said, "Well, you know how Jesus says to forgive? Well - maybe you should forgive her." I don't know if that worked or not, :) but I figured it would get added to 'Katie's doing-good points.' list that I thought God kept in Heaven to check to see if we could get in. Anyway, I remember in 7th-9th grade where I didn't know if I wanted to be Catholic anymore since half my friends were against organized religion. I started ditching Sunday School and instead sat in the back of the service. I'd still wait for my grandparents at the same spot by the classrooms so they'd think I went to class. Then I'd participate in the second service along with them.

Now, I think it's hilariously ironic that the kid that wanted to rebel against organized religion got a double-dose of church during that time, but I would just sit there and think about what I had learned about God thus far and just ask Him to help me with this quuestion. I knew too much about Jesus to reject him. I was telling one of my friends, "Well, I might not want to be in organized religion, but I can't give up believing in Jesus because then I'd never get into heaven for sure." and they said, "what do you mean?" and I said, "Well, you have to believe Jesus existed and was God, and you have to be really good to get into heaven." Of course coming to CSU and learning that admission into Heaven was based on grace by faith, changed some of that...

Anyway, I remember that the songs really stuck with me. A lot of them were taken from passages in the Bible, which, looking back, it was somewhat valid to ponder them as it was as close as I would get to memorizing the Word except for it I memorized the passages that were read during the service which, at the time, I didn't really see very benificial to do. I found a lot of comfort in the songs though and they would go through my head if I needed to lean on them for comfort.

In church there was where I really felt close to God and really sought after Him even though I never really understood His salvation until I got to college. God kept me in that environment from ages 7-18 to cushion and protect me from things that would happen outside that world. Church was my third home where I sought after and found comfort in God my true Father.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Unified worship

These past three weeks at Summitview, I notice that I start thinking about the other congregations I've been in and pray for them and just let myself be in unity with them esepcially if their services fall at around the same time as the one I'm in at the time.

Today I thought about three churches: Summitview, an E-Free church in Littleton, the chapel service at the hospital in Denver, and this small community church near my house. I attended the community church for three months, the E-Free church for the other 9 months that I was home, and the hospital chapel service on the Sundays when I had to work. The image was the same: the congregation singing a song sometimes with a band accompanying them. In the E-Free and the community church, the hymns were on power-point slides. The congregations varied in each location: The E-Free church was as crowded as Summitview and many people were white upper/middle class. The community church was a bit more diverse, and in the hospital chapel, most of the congregation wore scrubs and spanned the rainbow of skin-tones. Sometimes patients came to the service, so someone would come in by wheelchair or with a bandage or crutches.

In each service, several people stood with their hands raised during song or peayer, they were solemn when they got communion, and their faces lit up when they recognized each other Sunday after Sunday. In each service, several people were moved to tears during song.
At the hospital chapel, there was only one instance where we sang during the service. The Chaplain was going to read Abraham or Moses' parting blessing and one of the congregates remembered that it was turned into a hymn. When the chaplain couldn't find the reference, this congregate started singing the hymn. This particular person was at the chapel because his fiance was in the ICU on life-support due to an alcohol overdose. One of my co-workers was already emotionally wired because she didn't know whether a chronic condition that she had previously had resurfaces, and another co-worker had lost her aunt. I was a bit sad because one of my friends had recently been diagnosed with a mild form of a genetic disorder. As this congrete's voice rang out, as he was singing through his tears, everyone joined in. My two co-workers started crying as did I. Several other hospital staff congregates including the chaplain had tears in their eyes. We were singing to God in spite of everything, in spite of the pain and suffereing we saw throughout the hospital and in our own lives and families. We were singing because God was good through it all.

As I sang at Summitview, all those images flashed through my head from the churches in Denver. As we sang the song "Taste and See", I realized that I've fellowshiped with people in all these congregations as we sang cried and prayed to God. And every Sunday, though we are all separated distance wise, we still glorify His name together.