Sometimes when you’re going through the trials of life, you don’t need church, you need “chu’uch.” Sometimes it’s good to go back to your “ruts” — not your roots, but your “ruts.” And sometimes you just need a good ‘ole fashioned shout…
The other night Khalilah and I had the opportunity to go see Israel & New Breed, Beverly Crawford and Mali Music in concert at my old church in Upper Marlboro, MD, and what a blessing it was! Although I left the “black church” many, many years ago, every time I go to events like this, I’m reminded of the things I miss about it. Things like:
- Coming home from church with raw hands from clapping, a raw throat from singing at the top of my lungs and raw feet from jumping and dancing so hard.
- A good shout. Grant it, “shout” sessions can get a little out of control sometimes. And sometimes they can be driven by a false and fleeting sense of emotion that only lasts while your being pumped up by music. (Here’s one of my favorites–fast forward to around 4:45 to catch my drift. Here’s another favorite. And another–I’m not sure if this guy is serious or not, but I just love the Holy Ghost Dive in front of the lady trying to give her offering. Cracks me up every time.) But for real. Sometimes when you feel like you’re going through something, you need a real, good shout to just release and remind yourself that God is still in control.
- Corporate worship. There’s nothing like seeing an entire church, thousands of people strong, dancing in the aisles…everybody, young and old literally leaping into the air, praising the same God. At one point I thought we were going to have a flash mob up in that piece.
- Young people. During the song “You Are Good,” all the young people bumrushed the front of the stage and just started jumping and dancing. A group of kids got on stage and started “chopping” (dance craze here in DC :-). It reminded me of the days when I used to lead youth ministry. Nothing was more beautiful to me than seeing young people praise God and go hard. It still is just as beautiful.
- Surrender. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen people laid prostrate, wailing at the altar in total surrender to God. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Overall, last night was just a night filled with exuberant joy and celebration of a loving God. As easy as it may be to criticize, it’s this public display of emotion that helped me through many a crisis in days gone by. It’s what has gotten black folks through centuries of slavery, abuse, despair and injustice. Although I love my current church and I have no intentions on going back to my old one, last night reminded me of how much I LOVE praise and worship! I could sit in an atmosphere like that all day and all night and never get tired. I’m also reminded of how much worship fuels, strengthens and encourages me.
Despite the many great things that have been happening to me over the past month and a half, on a personal level I feel like I’ve been having a rough time with life lately. Between health issues, career issues, financial issues, blah blah blah, it’s easy to get lost and feel a sense of defeat and despair. But I think it’s good to take it back to the old school every now and then and get re-aligned with why you serve God in the first place. That night was a much needed reminder to not lose heart and to stay focused on what God is doing.