I looked at the audience around me and saw people of every race, every color, and every nationality – all singing to God. I imagined this is what heaven will be like, only grander.
It was a Saturday night I wouldn’t soon forget. My family and I would be traveling on Sunday morning for the Labor Day weekend and wouldn’t be able to attend our regular church. I didn’t give it much thought, for I have missed more than a few church services in my time and didn’t think one more would make a difference. My son, however, was insistent on attending a Saturday service in its place.
I could not find any Saturday services in our area, but my son found one on the other side of the city that he wanted to attend. It was an international church. I first looked it up online to make sure I agreed with their teachings. And then I thought, I’ve heard of this church before… I’ve heard they are a little charismatic; they like to dance in the aisles too. I became a little apprehensive about going. What if I don’t know what to do? What if I’m uncomfortable? What if they start dancing?
But my son was set on going, so we started our journey across town in a downpour of heavy rain and lightening that seemed to follow us the entire way. The roads were unclear in the rain and I was not familiar with the area. By the time we arrived 45 minutes later I was tired of driving and was second-guessing the trip. The parking lot was crowded, even with the rain, and so we followed the rest of the people into the building. As soon as I stepped inside, caught my breath and put my umbrella away, I felt an immediate peace about the place. It was a welcoming feeling. Like a shelter from the storms outside, it felt like a place of comfort and rest from our travels, a place where evil was not welcomed, and a place of truth instead of lies and deceptions. It was a happy place.
We navigated our way up to the balcony and took our seats. As the band began to play, the people stood up and started singing and praising to God. That’s when I looked around and saw people of every race, every color, and every nation – all singing to God and fellowshipping with each other. I imagine this is what heaven is going to look like, I thought. And I began to sing too.
My uneasiness about going had faded as soon as I stepped inside the doors. Perhaps this is how others may feel that have never been to church; maybe they feel the same apprehension I did on that day. Yet, I believe we all want to experience this sort of shelter – a place where we can go to get away from the barrage of a 24-7 world that seems to have lost its mind. We all need a place of unshaken truth and love, one that will protect us at our very core from those things which want to destroy us, our families, and our children. We all need shelter.
The pastor delivered an appropriate message that day too. It was on the 23rd Psalm, “I will fear no evil for you are with me.” God is that shelter. I left there that day thinking that I wouldn’t mind coming back to this place again. And yes, there was some dancing in the aisles.