reflecting back over this past week, a multilayered God encounter has revealed itself to my sometimes well insulated mind. last saturday, the milan vineyard worship team led worship at the ann arbor vineyard church's saturday evening celebration. i came along for the sheer pleasure of it all, and to help take care of our kids while Ronni did her thing.
my dad's sermon (which was excellent) was about the role of the senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) in experiencing God. the senses like the gates to the temple that we are. enjoyment of God-provided pleasures (through nature, people, words, music, etc) as way for the joy of the Lord to be our strength. afterwards, during prayer ministry time, Don (associate pastor at the a2 vineyard) anointed me with oil and prayed a blessing over my senses that they might be awakened to holy enjoyments.
driving home to milan that evening, as i exited u.s. 23 onto willis road going west, perhaps the most beautiful sunset i've ever seen arrested my attention. the light was gold, brushed with the oranges and reds of wood embers, soft, almost fluffy, and warm, flooding the woods surrounding the old psychiatric hospital. the sun was melting on the horizon like a glob of honey, swelling, pulsing, singing, slow dancing with the tall, lanky trees as they glided past my window. the air seemed to glow and swirl along the ground, leaving thousands of droplets of dewy light to settle on the grassy ground. for the eighth of a mile before the stop sign at platt, i was enthralled. my thoughts stretched out like a cat awakening from a nap, my breathing slowed, my heartbeat found some ancient rhythm and settled into it's grooves. at platt, i let the car idle and drank in the pleasure. how long, i'm not sure. it felt timeless. probably just a few seconds. then another car drew up behind me, and i turned south towards home, the glory slipping back behind me.
that night was / will be / will have been? the last night we spent/d? in milan for a couple of months. we moved after church sunday morning into my parents home in ann arbor, and we'll be here until our new house is completed near the end of october. this is one of the houses i grew up in, in the city i was born in and spent my entire childhood living in. and strangely, though the house is full of love and peace, and though everytime i've visited for Christmas or a birthday party or some other such occasion, i've felt in some sense like i'm coming home, and though i have great affection for the city of ann arbor and though i'm cheering on God's activity here, i feel distinctly 'away from home'. blessed? yes. happy? yes. loved? yes. in God's will? yes. well provided for? yes. home? yes at one level that's real and true, but also no, at another level that i've never really realized before. and i've noticed that every time i drive into milan now, whether to go to the office, or clean up something at our old house, or to check out the progress on the new house (682 Poppy Lane, btw), i feel like i've come home.
and then driving through downtown milan the other day, the thought came to me, perhaps for the first time, God wants to make this city great. great in what sense, i have no specific idea. but great, for sure. i have the impression the Lord must be up to something significant over this brief time away, either doing something in my heart, or revealing something in my heart, or probably both. looking forward to it all.
more on the sunset significance in the next post...but have to run now, off for the closing on our st. louis street house. praying the new owners experience as much blessing and joy there as we did.