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Monday, April 9, 2007

Distraction

The music starts while heads turn to the back of the church where a crowd of little ones has gathered. Palm branches suspended by small hands wave in our sight, Hosanna’s escape from lips like butterfly kisses that float in the air. Eyes searching for parents, elbows bumping one to the other, they make their way to the front, where they lay their branches on the altar. I smile hoping no one will notice the pink in my cheeks, and the tears that burn in my eyes, threatening to spill over staining my cheeks. I take a deep breath, lift hands to my mouth and exhale.

Paths crisscross with children searching for seats; I wave to Madison who holds the hands of her brothers, trying to guide them toward us. They find their seats, settle in, and the music continues to play. I sing a little, but wonder if perhaps it’s best I hold back, my throat is sore, and congestion has gotten the best of me. Noticing the woman beside me has flashed a smile my way, I pull lint from my sweater and smirk, revealing my imperfections in hopes that they may mask another. I continue to sing.

Nathaniel is clapping alone, unaware of the beat, until my husband grabs hold of his hands and leads him along. He doesn’t notice or care that he’s a one man marching band, so he continues to clap while we worship. Then he stops, tugs on his big brothers sleeve and speaks over the music, “Can I sit on your soldiers?” he asks.

Brendan unable to understand what he wants throws him a puzzled look. “He wants to sit on your shoulders,” I translate.

Brendan smiles, but shakes his head, “Not right now guy.”

I continue to worship.

The pastor speaks, while I write. He asks us to turn to the book of Matthew, and I do while in wonder I ask myself why I carry the Bible when the words appear on screen. I leaf through the onionskin pages, till my eyes rest on the passage at hand where I follow along. Marveling at the annotated reference notes, I wonder if others know the secrets I’m learning, my eyes rest on the page for a while until the silence tells me I’m lagging behind. My eyes rise to meet the eyes of the pastor, while I lean in to hear more.

Michael moves closer and whispers pointing out how the couple in front of us looks identical to the other couple just down their row. Together we study the back of their heads, discovering that they do look alike except for the fact that the women have slightly different lengths in hair, and the color is a shade or two off.

The woman sitting to my right passes her baby behind her. Taking the opportunity, I turn and smile to the people behind me, admiring the baby they hold.

I pick up my pen and continue dictation, trying my best to absorb all that I can.

Hearing the music I return to my feet, smoothing my skirt and clearing my throat. Tugging on Michael’s sleeve with one hand, and scratching his nose with the other, Nathaniel calls out, “Can I sit on your soldiers Daddy?”

We smile, while Michael answers, “Maybe later, my soldiers are sore now, ok?” Nudging his arm I hold in a laugh.

The music winds down, while closing words dismiss us from the service. I drop to my seat, and pick up my pen sliding it past the smooth leather wallet where it finally comes to rest. Picking up the notebook, I take one last look at the scratches I’ve put down on paper, hoping to remember all that I’ve learned.

What kind of worshipper are you? It asks…

Are you one of those who found themselves caught up in the moment singing “Hosanna in the highest” waving her palm branch high in the air, because it felt right? Perhaps you’ve said, “Why not? It seems fun.”

Or, are you one of those who liked the company of this man who took care of her. Perhaps He fed you in the group of five thousand, or healed a friend that was sick. You like Him because there’s something in it for you.

Or, lastly perhaps unlike the others, you know what the cheering is really about because you have a relationship with the One that you worship. You know that there’s nothing else that you’d rather do than cheer and wave your palm branch high in the air; you know that He is the one and only King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You want nothing else but to find your way through the crowd to get a glimpse of the one they call Christ.

Bowing my head I whisper a prayer, “Teach me to find my way through this crowd I call the world that pushes around me and takes my eyes off the one that I love. And, when it does press in, Father,” I ask, “can you lift me high on your shoulders, so that I might glimpse the man who died for my sins?”

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19 Comments:

Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I often feel like a 'Zacchaeus' myself for many reasons other than my 5 feet and 3 inches...What a beautiful description of this worship..I felt like I was in your sanctuary!

What a wonderful Resurrection Day!

April 8, 2007 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 8, 2007 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I really enjoyed your post
I pray that you and yours would be blessed with a wondeful Easter

April 8, 2007 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

I can relate to this so much...there is always something that distracts me from giving my all to God.....
Thanks for sharing!
Blessings

April 8, 2007 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this, felt like I was there with you.

April 9, 2007 at 1:20 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Your church sounds just like ours, we have the little ones running around in glee.

Love to read your post, I would have filled up with tears too - lol but it doesn't take much with me! And I LOL'd at the 'soldiers' instead of shoulders, love the children!

April 9, 2007 at 3:27 AM  
Blogger Judith said...

I knew I'd find special words about Jesus here, and will remember about distractions, even from family.

Thank you so much.

April 9, 2007 at 4:47 AM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

"Can you lift me high on your shoulders, so that I might glimpse the man who died for my sins?" I love that! Great post!

April 9, 2007 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Kind of funny how we sometimes get distracted by the other people around us. It has happened many times to me.

Thank you for sharing your reflection and I echo your prayer...May He keep me focused on my task at hand and never take my eyes of the One how bore my sin.

Blessings to you and yours, Darlene.

April 9, 2007 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

I, too, sat in church soaking it all in because of the emotion yesterday. I just kept praying to Him, "Lord, engrave this on my heart, so that when I sin, I can feel the pain that you felt." I want to feel Him and see Him in each and every day-not just at Easter. Thanks for your post. It really blessed me. Blessings to you!

April 9, 2007 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Very well put. I've often thought that I want to be like that women who risked it all and crawled through the crowd to get to Jesus- because she knew that He had what she needed.

Oh- do I ever need what He has!!

April 9, 2007 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

I like that prayer at the end! "Lift me onto your shoulders, Lord!" Amen.

April 9, 2007 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The question, "What kind of worshipper are you?" I love this because it is so easy to be distracted whether in the sanctuary of our church or the quietness of our homes. And yet I want to be the one who is lifted to his "soilders" so that I can see all that He has for me, but too often I relate more to the woman who just wants to touch the hem of his garment. But I love the prayer in the final paragraph, "Teach me to find my way through the crowd I call the world that pushes around me and takes my eyes off the one that I love..."
Beautiful post to begin this new week following Resurrection Sunday

April 9, 2007 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Beautiful, and I agree with all comments before I often want to sit on the "soliders" also =)

April 9, 2007 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Jen Holland said...

For so long I was a worshipper who did a lot of it because it was "fun". Then if something bad would happen in my life (I was in HS so it was mainly being dumped by a cute boy, or having a fight with a catty friend) I would worship because I wanted Him to help me.

But now, after years of being away from my faith, I'm back. And for once I have finally become a worshipper who has that one on one relationship with the Lord. I am here because I found my way on my own...and there is no where else I'd rather be.

I so enjoyed reading this!

April 9, 2007 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

By the time I get to the parking lot, I can barely remember what I learned. And I don't have all those distractions. Man! That doesn't say much for the kind of worshipper I am, does it?

Maybe I need to just lay my head on His soldiers.

April 9, 2007 at 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Darlene,

*gulp*... *snif*-- moving post. Thank you.

Lift me High on His soldiers.... Oh, yes Lord, lift me high.

April 10, 2007 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger ~ Angels With A Purpose ~ said...

Awesome post Darlene. I just have to say ditto to your prayer. It is so easy to be distracted, especially when you have little ones. I also pray I will never forget what He did for me.

~God Bless you and your family,
Jen

April 11, 2007 at 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Photo Buffet said...

And, when it does press in, Father,” I ask, “can you lift me high on your shoulders, so that I might glimpse the man who died for my sins?”

This gave me chills, Darlene.
May we never grow used to God's presence in our life!

April 11, 2007 at 2:23 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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