Holy commotion rising from the pews

June 7, 2017

The Holy Spirit stirred things up for me a few weeks ago.

I was in one of the stretches in my faith where I was craving the concrete.

So much of the time, faith and ministry and discipleship exist in the realm of feelings and ideas and theories. But without the concrete, my faith tends to become brittle. My spiritual bones begin to feel dry.

Faith—whether it is our personal faith or the faith we express as a group of believers that God gathers to form a church—is always a journey with peaks and valleys. Sometimes God pulls me out of the valley through prayer. Other times, it is by placing messengers (the Bible calls messengers “angels”) in my path. Three weeks ago in worship the Holy Spirit pulled me up from the valley by connecting faith to my senses.

It was during a baptism.

“Will the congregation please stand: Do you, the people of the church, promise to tell this new disciple the good news of the gospel, to help him know all that Christ commands, and, by your fellowship, strengthen his family ties with the household of God?”

It wasn’t our congregation’s resounding “We do!” that did it.

It was the noise the preceded the question.

“Will the congregation please stand…”

When hundreds of people stand up in an historic sanctuary with squeaky floorboards it causes a commotion. The commotion of that rising from the pews is holy.

That rising to glimpse the face of the baby about to receive the promises of grace.

That rising to utter promises to parents that we will walk with them as they raise their child in the faith.

That rising to stand together—as different as we may be—to embody a commitment to be Christ’s family, in a concrete way.

This is what the church—and faith—sound like.

It was a sound that quenched the dry places of my soul.

I don’t know if you are at a peak or a valley in your journey of faith. But wherever you might be, I would encourage you to make attending worship with your church family a priority. God does speak: sometimes in anthems, sometimes in prayers, sometimes in sermons. And sometimes, even, in floorboards that announce the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

– The Reverend Pen Peery