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Amazing Worship

It was my second year of college. My friend and I were invited to visit another friend who was attending a Christian College near New York City. We knew a guy who was from New Jersey, and was planning to visit his parents for the weekend. We asked him if he would be willing to drop us off on Friday night and pick us up on his way back to school on Sunday. He agreed, and off we went in his little blue Volkswagen Bug, with no heat in a typically, frigid late autumn in New York.

The weekend was great, of course. How could it not be? A couple of longtime friends staying up late, reminiscing, and catching up with what was happening in our lives while apart. We spent a memorable day in NYC on Saturday, got the chance to meet the people who were currently important in our friend’s life, and were mistakenly taken for prostitutes by some foreign guys while we were trying to witness in Chinatown. But that’s another story.

However, it was Sunday morning that has stayed with me all these years later.

While at this college, my friend was attending a large Charismatic church (not entirely sure what the denomination was) near her school, and she wanted us to come to church with her. While I had been visiting as many churches as I could while in college, I had not been to a Charismatic one. However, I did have some acquaintances with people who were Charismatic Christians, so I was not in unknown territory.

The church was surprisingly formal, and I was struck by its beauty. As I look back on the memory, I still have the sense of it being golden inside, everything seemed bright with a gold cast to it.

The service went along in a fairly normal way, not anything in particular that distinguished it from any other church I may have attended before… until the last song.

Suddenly, the place was filled with an otherworldly sound. Chills went up and down my arms. I may have even stood there with my mouth open. I can remember looking around with awe, and sensing God’s presence as I’ve never sensed it before.

The congregation began to sing in tongues. There were no words to follow. Most participants had their eyes closed, faces to the ceiling, arms outstretched. In fact, people around me sang words I didn’t understand, and everyone seemed to be singing a different tune. The result was not as you would expect – complete chaos. Rather, it was the blending of voices and music in complete harmony.

Soon I found myself joining in…not in tongues, as I do not have that gift…but a song came into my mind and I began to sing. It was a song I didn’t know. I never heard it before. It was the word “Hallelujah” in a simple, lovely melody. When I joined along, my song blended in. I became one with the congregation. I was contributing to this amazing worship, as if God had given me this song especially for that moment.

I don’t know how long this went on. The moment simply flowed, and yet, stood still.

Too soon, the congregation began to slowly quiet. Voices fell away, naturally. There was a time of silence, as if each person was lost in the moment, reluctantly leaving the God-space created in the harmony of voices worshiping God as one.

Then the service ended. A sense of loss came over me. And a deep need to experience it again.

But I’ve never experienced that kind of worship again.

For that moment, I am convinced, it was a foretaste of what heaven will be like. No accounting of time. Worshipping with vast numbers yet being one together. Voices raised in praise to our God.

Maranatha!

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the LORD our God, the Almighty Reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready.
It was granted her to clothe herself
With fine linen, bright and pure.”

~Revelations 19:6-8 {ESV}

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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Rebecca Montie Preston

Loyal wife. Empathetic mom of 2. Permissive Nana to nearly 7. Caregiver to a variety of wile pets. Hopeful pessimist. Smasher of false narratives. Mystic wanabee. Gardener extraordinaire. Tolerable creative artist. Reluctant writer.Loved by God no matter what.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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4 Comments

  1. Marilyn Bartha on December 5, 2018 at 8:54 AM

    Thank you Becky for relating your experience in such a beautiful way.
    It brought to my mind a memory of being in a church in Manila. At one point in the service, I felt His Presence as never before. We were all singing the same worship song…no tongues as I recall…but I remember thinking that this is what heaven will be like. People from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences joining together as one in the presence of the One. It changed me.
    I wonder how many of us have had that foretaste of heaven…thank you for sharing yours.

  2. Becky Preston on December 5, 2018 at 8:57 AM

    I think it’s not uncommon! It leaves us hungry for more!

  3. DianeK on December 5, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    Oh my but that’s beautiful. It caught me off guard as I had forgotten about having this same experience at a charismatic women’s conference decades ago! The amazing beauty of what, in my pragmatic mind, should have been chaos was so powerful. It was hard to deny, as you so beautifully describe, that it was a truly holy time in the presence of God.
    Oh boy, what worship in heaven will be like if this is a just a taste!!
    Thanks, Becky, for reminding us all that God doesn’t want us to wait until heaven for this kind of worship!!

  4. Sarah Blizzard Robinson on December 5, 2018 at 6:19 PM

    “Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!” There are times in worship–and for some, it may be such a regular occurrence they’d need to wear a shroud such as Moses did in Exodus–where nothing else matters but the presence of God. I’m reminded of the Transfiguration, too. Our Holy God transcends time and space, giving us that foretaste of glory. I’m so happy you recalled this for all of us.

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