This won’t be so bad, I surmised upon first hearing of the pandemic restrictions. It was the day of our son’s birthday party and as an introvert immersed in a sea of rollicking teen boys, the idea of less social interaction appealed to me. But two months later, I sang a different tune. My immediate family surrounded me 24/7, but I desired more.
On Sunday mornings, we came together in our living room—pajama-clad and bleary-eyed—attempting to replicate a worship service as a meager congregation of five. I cringed at our scant, lackluster attempt to sing along with a worship leader on the TV. We gave up clapping on Week One because the sound echoing off our silent walls irritated us instead of inspiring praise. Our livestream services lacked a certain splendor my soul craved.
Two months into the lockdown, our worship leader requested my husband’s help with pre-recording some worship songs in the church sanctuary. Restrictions limited the building capacity to only ten people, so my husband’s recruitment felt like a tremendous privilege. If only I could be there, I thought. Parched and yearning, my heart required an infusion of the healing balm I knew live worship could provide. I humbly asked to tag along, like a pauper reaching out a feeble hand, hoping for just a penny, a taste, a scrap.
I chose a dark corner of the empty sanctuary, not wanting to be a distraction to the musicians as they tuned their instruments and prepared the technical sound and recording equipment. After several minutes, the team settled into place and prayed for the event about to take place. A solemn pause, then the first harmonious chord, and a rush of tears drenched my face. It felt like the cleansing, soothing power of cool salve on a raw wound—instant relief.
For two precious hours, the worship team rehearsed and recorded their praise for the glory of God and the building up of the body of Christ while I silently sat in the dim back row. I felt my whole body relax as if enveloped in a thick, warm blanket. The lump in my throat rendered me mute, and I simply let the Great Physician restore my aching spirit through the holy music. Soaking in this holy moment, my memory drifted to another time of worship that soothed my soul.
A gentle summer breeze carried the fragrance of soft peonies through the open curtains of the wedding tent and fluttered the bridesmaid’s skirts. I heard a guest politely hush a restless toddler and saw my mom dab at her cheek with a tissue. Chandeliers sparkled and the groom beamed as he took his radiant bride’s hand.
While the pastor prayed to begin the ceremony, I remembered countless conversations with my brother about his hopes and dreams about life and love, and I marveled at how beautifully God fulfilled those desires through this captivating young woman—my new sister-in-law. She’s worth the wait, I decided. Funny, smart, patient, kind, and devoted to Jesus Christ, she’s the perfect fit for my brother.
Just when I thought the day couldn’t possibly be more lovely, airy notes from a friend’s guitar prompted our congregation of family and friends to sing:
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name
Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all”1
This moment is sacred, I thought as I squeezed my husband’s hand. After 17 years of living thousands of miles away, I felt at home with my entire family all in one place, our voices joined in harmony as we celebrated this blessed union through songs of worship.
The first “normal” worship service after all restrictions were lifted, my church family and I filled our sanctuary till it felt like the corners would burst. Anticipation flowed like electric currents as our pastor reached the podium. He took a breath and opened his mouth to speak, but faltered as he surveyed the room. His eyes glistened with uncontainable, infectious joy. We all fought back tears, looking around at each other with irrepressible grins, delighted simply to be together. Finally composing himself, our pastor blurted a prayer of heartfelt thanksgiving and cued the worship team to lead us in song.
As the boisterous notes of that first chorus resounded through the building, we enjoyed a taste of heaven, of things to come when we unite around the throne of God in endless praise. ”Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
- Words and music by Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan & Eric Liljero ↩︎