Three minutes from pulling into the church parking lot my leg vibrated with a steady pulse. I read the text that just came through: “…I’m out of town this weekend!”
It was Noah’s pal for Sunday school. He and Judah both love Sunday School. Their assigned pals are great! They help with transitions, give them a break when the middle school class gets too loud, and help direct them during activities. Noah’s and Judah’s peers in Sunday school are fabulous, too. They all come alongside both boys as they would younger siblings.
Hmmm…wonder who’s going to be with Noah… As we pulled into the parking space, I decided not to worry about it. It always works out!
A friendly greeter welcomed us with a smile as he held the door open, just like every week. As soon as Judah saw his pal waiting in the entryway, he ran over, hugged her arm, and gave her skin a little pinch, a typical greeting from Judah. With a slight wince, Jenny returned his greeting, “Hey, Judah! How are you? Are you ready to go to Sunday School?” As always, Judah gladly followed her up the stairs.
The music resounded from the sanctuary. Noah pointed. “This one?”
I looked at Neil. Then back at Noah. “Noah, do you want to go in there?” I confirmed by
pointing my finger towards the large amphitheater with lively praise resonating throughout the building.
I shot a what-do-you-think glance at Neil. In the past, the music was always too loud, the crowd too large, and the overall sensory stimulation way too much.
We found our seats in the front. As the singing continued for the next fifteen minutes, I watched as Noah danced, laughed, and flapped his hands with frantic excitement. People around us turned around and smiled as my heart swelled with pride and awe. What better place to demonstrate freedom? Acceptance? Wholeness in our brokenness? Community in the body of Christ? Reckless abandon of dignified-self to a holy and loving God?
As I watched Noah dancing in his own unique way, the passage in 2 Samuel 6:21-22 came to mind. Although no one scorned Noah like David’s wife, Michal, did to him, I still thought of David’s response to his wife, “In the presence of the LORD who chose me…I will celebrate in the presence of the LORD…I will become even more undignified than this…” (CJB, NIV). How often does my pride forbid me to express my exultation and praise to God for who He is? Do I dare celebrate in His presence because He chose me to belong to Him? Am I too dignified to raise my hands, bow my face to the floor, dance in His presence, and risk the judgement of others in order to express my joy and adoration to Him?
Lord, please take my disability of self righteous piety and perfectionism and give me what Noah has in abundance: authenticity.