A few times I have written a poem in response to a worship service (Claimed by God, Brightly Colored Beads, Determination). This poem was not written in RESPONSE to a service; it was written in ANTICIPATION of a service -- next week's Easter service. I wrote this week about expecting the amazing -- expecting God to act in our lives and in our church. In that spirit of expectation, I wrote this poem.
It was Easter morning.
The Sanctuary was holding its breath in anticipation.
It was prepared for the amazing.
Flowers perfumed the altar,
and God stood, waiting.
The Children entered in their finery,
Dressed in new clothes out of respect for where they were,
In celebration of the risen Lord.
They filled the pews, talking, chatting
Enjoying the fellowship.
"What day is this?"
They answered, "A day the Lord has made."
"Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The service began with a trumpet fanfare,
A choir processional;
Grace poured into the room,
raining down on the Children as a gift.
The living water of eternal life.
Some turned their faces to heaven
to enjoy the downpour.
Other put up their umbrellas.
One woman, sitting alone,
Sheltered herself under her flowered umbrella.
She tucked her purse closer to her side,
pulled back her high heels,
and hunkered under the cloth.
She was a widow, her children had moved away.
She felt lonely, afraid, and not ready for redemption.
The choir sang, and she cleared her throat.
The children sprinted forward for their moment.
Happy and joyful.
One said, "Jesus Christ is Risen Today,"
in a sing-song voice.
The woman peaked out from her umbrella.
"He lives!" said another.
She slowly reached up, and pulled the mechanism,
lowering her umbrella.
Quenching her thirst.
Soaking her spirit with living water.
Her skin absorbed it as grace filled her.
Washing away her tears and loneliness.
A man sat in another pew, his golf umbrella held straight.
On his mind were taxes, paychecks, and dwindling supply lines.
He was not alone, but he might as well have been.
The rain beat on his umbrella, but he held it powerfully still.
The trumpet blasted; the liturgy was read.
The wind started.
Some rain landed on his sleeve, but he brushed it away.
The voice of the minister swept through the room,
And the spirit of God blew.
It blew so hard and strong that the man lost his grip.
The umbrella flew out of his hands,
and somersaulted down the aisle.
A baby saw it bounce by, and giggled.
The man sat in the pew, getting drenched.
His clothes were ruined, his mind had lost his focus.
None of it mattered.
Grace filled his soul,
Enlivened his spirit.
The torrent plastered his hair to his face.
The minister joined in, joyful in the rain.
Grateful for the laughter of a man
who had never laughed before.
Two teenagers sat together in the balcony.
One held up his black umbrella,
Not even looking toward the front of the church.
He was dry.
The congregation stood up,
honoring the glory of the Halleluiah Chorus.
Because he knew his mother was watching,
the teenager stood up, too.
But stayed under his umbrella.
He leaned over to his friend,
whispering, "Are you going to watch the game tonight?"
The friend looked at him in exasperation,
She snatched the umbrella out of his hand,
and dropped it off the balcony.
It landed at the foot of an usher,
who calmly folded it up and put it away.
Sometimes this happened.
He had come to expect the extraordinary.
The teenager stood in awe
as the rain came down in buckets.
Filling his tender, new spirit with grace overflowing.
He reached over and held the hand of his friend,
Speechless for once.
One of those big, joyful smiles.
He loved to surprise his Children.
He rained grace and love down on them.
Giving in abundance.
He held nothing back.
He never did.
Dream for our church:
May God rain down his love and grace on us this Easter;
May we put away our umbrellas, and be drenched in the downpour;
May we be so certain of the coming rain that the women wear waterproof mascara,
and the men refrain from washing their cars.
May we be prepared for the rainbow,
And may our hearts be filled to overflowing.
Bring it on.