You should be warned: this is a happy-clappy Jesus post.
I trolled Youtube the other night for clips of Touched By an Angel.
I may as well admit to you now that it was for self-satisfaction. I wanted to cringe at the bad theology, the saccharine-sticky turns of phrase. I remember watching the show growing up, the family values program that my mother liked because nothing was racy and you didn't have to worry about language. (That's profanity for those outside the delicate circle of Southern Christianity.)
But what I found, between the moments that I did cringe, was the below clip. It's showy, it's over the top in a way, and it does have some theological problems. It is from an episode where a professor looks for the Ark of the Covenant and finds it, but also finds God. Faced with God's Presence, he humbles himself.
Just before, the angels that have guided the professor along the way sing a contemporary worship song about being before God: Down, at your feet O Lord, is the most hight place, in your presence Lord, I seek your face, I seek your face. For there is no higher calling, no greater honor, than to bow and kneel before your throne. I'm amazed by your glory, embraced by your mercy, O Lord, I live to worship you.
Hilary went into the hospital the next day to have surgery on her gallbladder. We arrived to the hospital in the early morning and waited five hours before my beautiful fiancée was wheeled back into surgery. Her mother and I sat in the waiting room discussing the Church, the needs in my generation and what hers could pass down. (She is a wise woman, a wisdom that was hard-won through and by a good life.)
There were no complications with the surgery, but Hilary stayed in the hospital overnight to rest.
I brought her home yesterday, but had to circle back to the hospital when I had forgotten to take the one thing that mattered with us--the prescription for her pain meditation. Since, it was a long day of slow fed graham crackers and water, the usual rhythms of recovery, the busyness of getting still enough but checking on each incision and every need.
This morning I had a minute to pause, just barely a minute, and I pushed a prayer into the void, a prayer of recognition that in the midst of it there had not been much time for prayer, for reading the Bible, for doing much of anything. Maybe I was apologizing, maybe I was turning it back onto myself, but I felt the Presence of God, the lacy movement ripple of the fabric of space, gently drift across.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
And what song has been stuck in your head for the past three days?
Is this asked by God or asked by me? I'm not sure, but I do know the answer: Down at your feet O Lord ...
So I am here, in this moment, while Hilary sleeps, with this singular and small held thing, that whatever it is, it is enough. That it is prayer, this looking over others; that it can be our Scripture, this bringing them graham crackers.
I don't know what today looks like for you, but perhaps in the busyness of helping others be still, you need the reminding of the stillness within you. It's there. And I believe that God asks of us only that we recognize that God has made that enough.
For to serve is to serve God; to serve God is to be in the presence of God; and there is no higher calling and no greater honor than that.