Today’s post was written by Nathan Albert. It was originally published in two parts (here and here) on his blog, it seems to me… Nathan is the Pastor of Student Ministries at Christ Church in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Previously, he was the collegelife coordinator with University Ministries at North Park University in Chicago, IL and has also worked as the Director of Pastoral Care with The Marin Foundation. Nathan earned his Master of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary where he focused his thesis on the biblical scholarship pertaining to homosexuality. He is a licensed minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, an avid thumb wrestler, and excited to spend the rest of his life with his lovely fiancee Kate. Follow him on Twitter at @nathanalbert.
Last spring, I attended a church on the East Coast. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and I arrived to the church service a little late. It’s inside a school, and there were hundreds of people singing along to songs as I entered.
The church service was by no means a Pentecostal service, but people occasionally clapped, raised their arms, and swayed to the tunes. It’s a place where you felt safe and welcomed.
In the front row was an elderly woman. (If you don’t know, I have an affinity to cute old people. They warm my heart.) I later learned her name was Dorris, and she was a survivor of the Holocaust. She was dressed to the nines in a red dress. Next to her was her cane and, on each side of her, a friend.
As the final song was being sung, Dorris happened to catch my eye. There was her cane leaning on the chair next to her. Dorris was standing with arms raised completely above her head in worship. And around Dorris’ waist was her friend’s arm, willingly holding her up to worship.
It brought me to tears.
Here was an elderly woman so in love with God that she risked falling in order that she could worship the God that saved her. In that moment, nothing else mattered to her but worshiping her God. And there was a woman next to her who loved Dorris so much that she would do anything so that her friend Dorris might be able to worship the God who saved her. In that moment, nothing else mattered but holding her friend up so she might worship.
It was beautiful. And a blog post may not adequately explain what I saw in that moment. But it was beautiful. I promise.
I hope I become a person who will do whatever it takes so that my loved ones can freely worship God. And I hope that I will have people in my life that will do whatever it takes so that I can freely worship God. Even if that means holding me up so I can worship like Dorris.
Recently, I was fortunate to have a short conversation with Dorris the Worshiper. Although brief, it was packed with wisdom. Although introductory, it was full of experience. And although a conversation in passing, it was one I shall not forget.
After simple greetings, I asked her how long she had been a part of the church and how long she had been a Christian. Through her accent, she reminisced about how her parents raised her Catholic and allowed her to partake in the Eucharist as a child. She went on to mention how she attended this particular church and had been hooked from day one. She comes to worship and always sits in the front rows because she loves the music.
With a smile upon her face, she concluded the conversation by saying that she comes to church in order “to see my Jesus.”
“I want to see my Jesus,” said Dorris.
As I stood in the back of the sanctuary, I watched Dorris the Worshiper in the front row enjoy the music.
I watched Dorris the Worshiper as she saw her Jesus.
In that moment, I think I saw Jesus too. And it was pretty cool.