06 October 2008

a memory worth revisiting

One Sunday morning in South Africa when Pastor Willie was out of town, I was afforded the chance to preach in front of the people of Mayfair Baptist Church. When I preach, I don't often make an invitation to the church to "come forward" at the end of the service for counseling or prayer, but one Sunday I felt like the issue that we addressed was the type of issue that we needed to make a public commitment to root out of our lives.

So I finished preaching that Sunday and I made the invitation for folks in the congregation to come up to the front of the church for support, prayer, or just to make a public showing of the change that they wanted to make.

Stef played this song, "Come and Listen" by David Crowder Band as I sat down on the stage and hoped that our community would come right and take ownership of the place where we desperately needed the intervention that only God could bring in us. I closed my eyes and cried as I heard her sing. I wanted so deeply for people to respond...not to me or my morning message, but to the fullness that was available to them in the Source.

I vaguely remember opening my eyes to see two dozen people kneeling and crying and holding each other at the altar. I felt this warmth come over me. My memory is, however, dominated by how proud I was of Stef...her grace and gentle spirit breathing out every beautiful word of that song, her voice capturing the very soul of that cry to a Higher Power, that thankful refrain.

I also remember marveling at our ability to be present in that time and place. I remember wondering how two Texas kids ended up together in a drafty South African church together. It was a beautiful moment in time, a cherished memory if I have any.

Come and Listen...

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