I went to church this past Sunday morning a bit down emotionally. I just finished a challenging week at work, averaged 3-4 hours of sleep per night, and I was fighting a cold. So, I picked a seat in the back corner not wanting to expose myself and my germs to anyone, and I began to pray before the service started.
Our church services are different from the norm. The atmosphere is casual. The worship is contemporary. There is no hierarchy of leadership and lay folks. We’re just a bunch of friends who come together on Sunday mornings to love God and one another. Yes, we do have a pastor and a leadership team, and a basic structure of how things are done, but it’s a flexible structure that gives room for the Holy Spirit to express His heart in the way He wants.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
We have an “open mic policy,” so that anyone who has something to say, pray or share throughout the service is free to do so during worship and even during the sermon. The congregation is encouraged to speak up and add to whatever is being shared.
Anyway, back to the service. Nate opened the service in prayer and a gentle admonition wondering why everyone was so quiet as we should be in joyous celebration. Kristi got up and shared how the LORD ministered to her as she saw her dad, Ken, dance his way into the service. Ken’s face radiant with the joy and glory of the LORD lit up the room. We entered into worship, and afterward prayed for one another to be filled fresh with the Holy Spirit. Kristi’s husband, Luke, was invited to speak. He spoke about transformation. The gist of his message was that God isn’t working to change us into something we’re not, but He is bringing us into our true identity–who we really are. And it is as God reveals the truth to us that we can embrace our identity. In the here and now we only see a part, but there will be a time when the veil will be removed and we will fully know even as we are fully known. Oh what joy that day will bring!
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the LORD. And the LORD–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
It is through revelation that we are transformed into His image. I wrote the word revelation in my journal as Luke was speaking, and I saw something I never saw before. I saw two words:
REVEL and ELATION
The word revel means to take intense pleasure or satisfaction.
The word elation means a feeling or state of great joy or pride; exultant gladness, high spirits
For me this was the decorative bow that tied everything that happened in the service together. I understand that God has specific times and seasons for everything. This service was a week prior to the Jewish celebration of Purim. Purim is the commemoration of the story of Esther, and one interesting fact about the Biblical book of Esther is that God is never mentioned; however, it is recognized that God was at work behind the scenes directing all that happened for the Jews to triumph over their enemies. Purim is one of the most joy-filled celebrations on the Jewish calendar. People dress in costumes (as a tradition of God working behind masks) and give treats to one another. Games are played. Food is eaten, and it is one holiday that Jewish people are actually commanded to get drunk.
I am so grateful for how the service played out, and what God wanted to say was so evident and beautifully unveiled (revealed) through many of us–Nate’s admonition for us to be joyful, Kristi’s testimony of her dad dancing into the service (by the way, a year ago, Ken was very ill and in desperate need of a heart transplant. He received his new heart over the summer, and I’m so blessed in seeing his health restored and that all of us are getting to see and know the real Ken!), Luke’s message, and the revelation that God is inviting us to revel–to take intense pleasure and to be in a state of elation–exultant gladness as our eyes are opened to see Him and we are transformed into His image.