Worship, 1980-something: Secret Santa Worship Day

It was a mid-week church service, sometime in the early 1980’s.

Who was preaching? I don’t remember. Who was leading the singing? I have no memory of that. Who was playing the pipe organ, the piano, the drums and guitars? I can’t recall that either. Who was present? A few relatives, a few friends, myself and many others whose names I didn’t know. I was only a visitor, not knowing what to expect.

What was happening? That I will never forget.

The main floor and the balcony of the sanctuary was filled that evening. The preliminaries had taken place – greetings, announcements, offering, followed by hymns and praise songs accompanied by enthusiastic clapping. The congregation had taken their seats. But then…

A complete hush fell over the congregation. The silence was so deep you could have heard a pin drop. Literally. It was as if a thick cloud had descended, cutting off every nuance of noise. No foot shuffling could be heard, no throat clearing, no nervous coughing, no nothing. The quality of light subtly changed from that provided by the ordinary church chandeliers to a brilliance I’d never seen before. It was hard to keep your head up or your eyes open.

After only a few moments it was also hard to stay in your seat. Many didn’t. People began to slip off the front pews and platform chairs onto the floor, out of the side pews into the aisle. No-one spoke. Nobody even seemed concerned about it. Everyone was too affected by the manifest presence of God in the room to take notice of their companions.

About half-way back on the left side of the building, my own row was too packed with people for me to move but I couldn’t raise my hands from my lap. I just basked in the soft, cherishing, comforting presence of the Lord.

What was it like? The closest I could describe was like being wrapped in a warm blanket, sitting on my mother’s lap and hugged close.

How long did it last? I never looked at my watch so I don’t know. But gradually the cloud began to lift. The people on the floor were helped back to their seats. The pastor got to his knees, then climbed to his feet holding onto the pulpit, but he couldn’t speak. Maybe he wanted to try to explain what had happened but I don’t think anyone was listening anyway.

Because the entire congregation was worshiping, telling Jesus how much they loved him, how much they adored him, how much they appreciated him. Some stood to their feet with arms raised and tears flowing down their face. Nobody wanted to leave that night and many of us lingered for a time, too awestruck to drive home yet.

As we milled around, we discovered that several miracle healings had occurred throughout the sanctuary. Nobody had laid hands on the sick or offered to pray, but as the presence and power of the Lord engulfed them the sick and hurt were made whole. Pneumonia in an elderly violin-maker – lungs completely cleared. A cracked elbow in my school teacher sister-in-law – bone completely healed.

That was my first experience of worshiping God in spirit and in truth in a church service. I’ve had similar worship experiences since then, in church buildings, convention centers, and the privacy of my own home. God instigated, they are not for his benefit, but for ours.

So, how would I define worship? Falling in love with the most precious, most beautiful, most wonderful, most worthy person that ever existed or ever will exist, knowing that he loves you back, and telling him how you feel.

14 thoughts on “Worship, 1980-something: Secret Santa Worship Day

  1. Reblogged this on Esther's Petition and commented:

    As I was reading several paragraphs in the worship posts this morning, I asked the Lord, Am I looking over your shoulder, or are you looking over mine? I’m looking from inside your shoulder, he said, with an obvious smile, and looking inside your shoulder too… shoulders are interesting things, he added. Someone can cry on your shoulder. Lean on your shoulder. You can shoulder responsibility. A shoulder can shrug. A shoulder is where your arm is attached, an arm that can hug, with a hand that can reach out, with fingers that can work the most intricate mechanism. But let’s keep looking… and we continued to browse through the posts on worship together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Just me being curious and commented:

    “How long did it last? I never looked at my watch so I don’t know. But gradually the cloud began to lift. The people on the floor were helped back to their seats. The pastor got to his knees, then climbed to his feet holding onto the pulpit, but he couldn’t speak. Maybe he wanted to try to explain what had happened but I don’t think anyone was listening anyway.”

    Secret Santa Worship Day – what is worship? Not one thing – but maybe one thing in common. That seems to be the “theme” emerging today in the posts so far. Take a look!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an awesome experience Bette! I remember that you once commented on one of my posts that time alone with God is a treasure, and you were certainly right about that. It would appear that time together with God and His church is also a true treasure; thank you for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sis Bette, you just described how the Lord is so willing to manifest Himself when people open their hearts to His Spirit without concern for anything going on around them. It must have been about the same time Sis when I was Praise and Worship minister and the evolution from the desire to invite the Lord into our midst to the actual manifest presence, and it is a gift once received is never, ever, ever forgotten!!!! It was a span of just over two years back in the mid-’80s that defined, at least for me, what worship, true Worship in Spirit and Truth was to become. I have carried that even to this day although that presence is not dependent upon the whole congregation today. The Lord has given me opportunity even to this day, to encourage others in opening their hearts and spirit to the presence of His Holy Spirit. AND YES, miracles happen, healing takes place, finances are taken care of and so much more, all without the intervention of man getting in the way; because the Holy Spirit is given free reign!!!

    2Corinthians 3:17-18, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

    Thanks so much for this Sister Bette, what a great example of total surrender to the Lord and His leading!!! God bless you Sis, richly and oh so greatly!!


    • You are such an encouragement, Roland. My prayer for us (and our readers) is that the Lord would intercept, interfere, intervene and interpose his presence and his wishes everywhere we go, in everything we do. Yesterday I had my 5th anniversary checkup (all OK) with my oncologist, who was raised in a Hindu home but says he himself is not religious. Before I left his office I asked if I could pray for him, and with a big smile he said Yes! So I took his hand, prayed that the Lord would meet all his needs and bless his family, his practice, and he himself. He thanked me with a big hug, said see you in a year, Merry Christmas, and patted my shoulder. My private prayer for him is that sentence above – that the Lord would “collect him” for the kingdom, i.e. involve himself and draw this man to Jesus. Last month I laid hands on and prayed for 4 people in my cardiologist’s office (all OK there, too), including the doctor and his physician’s assistant. Since that day, hardly a day goes by without the Lord hand-delivering me an opportunity to “leak the Holy Spirit” onto somebody else. Phone calls, online, in church, out shopping or here at home. I think the Lord is determined, don’t you? 🙂 Time is short, so short!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Sister Bette, the time is so very short and I believe with all my heart the time is upon us when we will start to see the Holy Spirit backing up His Word in ways that the early church experienced. Not with the flashy, look at me, programs but with individuals stepping out in faith and lending authority and confirmation to the Word of God!!! He is/has been preparing His Church I believe for this time!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I would like to be a part of this kind of Worship every single day! God can be experienced in all kinds of ways but when it is a collective event such as this it is quite overwhelmingly wonderful. ~ Dale, Brandon’s Mom

    Liked by 1 person

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