"The fisherman even has a phrase to describe what he does when he studies the patterns of a river. He says he is "reading the water," and perhaps to tell stories he has to do much the same thing."
- Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
The question was posed: Is the Father with us? And I added my hope-filled voice to the answer: He is! I stood and sang the songs that scrolled across the screen. I extended my hands over the children as they gathered to go to "children's church." I wonder if God thinks everything we do is "children's church"? I said Thanks be to God when the Old and New verses were read. And I stood in the presence of The Gospel and added Praise to You, Lord Christ. I listened to portions of the sermon while sneaking peaks at the notes others around me were taking. It's interesting to see what other people are thinking. One lady was writing about "the salvation that comes from the Lord." Another lady was drawing flowers and circles and curly-Qs. It's interesting to see what other people are thinking.
I stood for the Prayers of the People and when the priest offered "the peace of the Lord be with you," I responded with "peace on you, too." I fell in step with those before me and extended my hands and lips to receive the body and blood of our Lord. I extended my hands, again, over a couple being sent off to encourage missionaries, who always need encouraging. In all of this, this "church" experience, I felt no stirring of the waters; the river was totally placid. There are some preachers who rail against the emotions and rail at you not to seek a stirring of any kind. Those kinds of preachers are dangerous. I believe there's gotta be something, some ripple, some break in the water's calm, however small, at some moment, that gives tangibility to all the words and standing and extending and tasting and seeing.
I was about ready to pack up my wares and head home, chalking the experience up to experience, faithfulness, the right-thing-to-do, it's all about God anyway, or something like that. And then, just as I decided to step out of the icy waters of God, our unison voices phrased the First-Born from the dead. It didn't create a huge splash, or cause a disturbance for folks to take notes about; no, it just broke the surface, just briefly enough to remind me that there is a river that flows from the throne of God. Those words the First-Born from the dead stirred my waters; my eyes filled with tears. What was that all about? Oh, I've got some hunches, but that's not the point. The point is that I went to the house of the Lord in hopes that a fish would rise. And it did. Because he did.