I was eldering a partial weekend on Deepening Worship. The group was, for the most part, easy to hold. Oh there were those flitterings of energy, the communal backing away from deepening intimacy with Holy Presence, but it seemed as if that same communal energy was very responsive to the wooing into Holy Presence.
There did not seem to be a lot of ego neediness present throughout the weekend, and as we sat in our last worship, I was encouraged and relaxed. It was the day before Sandy was scheduled to hit the East Coast and my journey home would take me through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey coastal areas and on into Philadelphia. I was determined to head my smart car home that night and arrive safely before the storm.
As meeting for worship progressed, I felt myself let go of holding the group in Holy Presence, and let go of caring for the group in the same way. The image I often carry when I elder, of being in child’s pose before the cross, a conscious prayer and request to be brought low, dissipated and I became a waiting worshipper, to see what Spirit brought into our midst.
Often, at the close of a session in worship, I am given a vision, sometimes communal sometimes personal, sometimes (and these are my favorites) both. But what I was given this time was unprecedented in my life. There were waves of power that went through me. Not gentle waves, like a undulating ocean. Nor rough and tumble waves, like an ocean in the midst of a storm. Not with any type of consistency or pattern. Random waves of power starting at my head and pounding through my body, coursing through my body and then leaving, catching my breath and wondering what the heck was going on and was it going to happen again? I am certain I said yes to it happening, and pretty certain I could have said no and it would have stopped. There was no doubt in my being that this was a gift from God.
Often, the gift I bring to a group includes tears. The release of the Holy Presence and a sense of compunction in the gift of tears. There were no tears this day, nothing that I felt was brought to the group or for the group. And at the end of our Meeting for Worship, I was buzzing.
It was the day after my 51st birthday. I drove home that night with no pain and an overload on energy, getting into Philadelphia around 1:30 am. The next few days I had my fairly normal recovery process from eldering - a process I associate with the aftermath of giving birth, of holding souls close to my heart and spirit and then letting go.
And even now, as I write these words, I feel echoes of that wave through me in my jaw and body. A fullness, a plumping of my flesh – it is impossible for me to describe. But I felt it, I know that much to be true. I have no idea what the meaning was, why it came to me at that time, or for that purpose. It was the strangest experience in worship or in the presence of Holy Spirit I have ever had, and that does say a lot.
I don’t get what it was about, and I know it was. That seems to be a theme that happens more and more in my life.