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Awakened by Deep Worship

We know from the men and women who have walked long on the paths of devotion, we should never think of the deepest worship as something rehearsed, or controlled.  They remind us the truly deep moments are not those times we are lifted to to mountain peaks to happily dance among the angels.  Those are great times of worship.  But, they are not the deepest times.

I kept a journal of that first long year after Robin unexpectedly died.  It's on the bookshelf right in front of me. I still pull it down from time to time to read over the pages of scribbled thoughts, trying to remember the man I was.

The deep moments of worship are never fun and rarely planned.  They sometimes emerge out of suffering or loss. If an image comes to mind, it's like being torn open until the darkest part of our soul lies exposed before the white-hot light of God.

It is those moments that leave us  trembling and strangely changed.  Like moths drawn toward the flame, in deepest worship we are pulled toward something so beautiful it truly hurts.  Just like Anthony and Francis and Teresa discovered centuries ago, agony and ecstasy are so sublimely intertwined, we cannot hold onto one without embracing the other.  Easter must stand alongside Gethsemane.  Both or neither.

Then, we might dare even whisper to Maximus, "It is as you said, Confessor of the God-Man."  For it is God-ness itself, that unfathomable theosis, that pulls us toward eternity by manifesting eternity in us.

And, when deep worship has passed and even the seasons out of which it emerged have faded, we find remembering it clearly is like trying to remember a loud noise that awakens us from slumber.  We do not actually remember the sound,.  Only its echo.  But we know there was a sound.  And so we remember our own remembering.

That's how it is with deep worship.  We can recall parts, but these are mere echos.  We cannot re-enter the moment. Like all the worlds of our past, we access it only in imperfect memory.  We are certain it was real and our certainty is confirmed because we are changed.  Indeed, we find we have changed so deeply we only began to sense the degree of change when, some time later, we follow the shock waves of our altered lives back to their seismic source.  The cataclysm of deep worship.

And so, I open a journal or two, remembering echos, and other echos since those echos.  Change upon change.  Year upon year.  Recalling fading tears and dances with angels on mountaintops.  All the while wondering how long it will be before we are all brought fully awake by a very loud sound.

God's grace is that these moments of deep worship are ever granted to us at all.
God's mercy is that they are not more often.

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