Sunday, April 17, 2011

Copy Cat Here Again

The Altar

Devotional by David Hampton
Reprinted from the 2011 Lenten Reflections journal of Wells UMC, Jackson, MS

O God, you are my God; early will I seek you ...

Psalm 63:1

Read Psalm 63
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah

The cooking crew for the monthly men's breakfast gets to the church early. Got to get those grits cooking.

Last month, I couldn't sleep so I just came on down to the church a little earlier. As I went through the building turning on lights, I slipped into the sanctuary, as I have done several times on those men's breakfast mornings.

You should see it at that time. It's dark and quiet. The lights come through the stained glass giving muted light with color. You can hear the pews creak and pop to the point that I have had to look around to see if someone is there, but it is just the old, well-used wooden pews talking back.

You can hear the world outside, but even it seems quieter that early in the morning, almost as if the world is being respectful.

I knelt at the altar where I have knelt so many times with so many prayers throughout the years. I think of the thousands who have done the same and all of the things I have witnessed at that place. I've seen grief and joy, laughter and tears, all the emotions that come with our deepest cares, concerns and celebrations in life.

Most of all, I have seen grace upon grace.

There are holy places to which people make pilgrimages. As we travel through this lenten time, we will make our "pilgrimages" in many ways, seeking out holy places of refuge on our way to the cross. May I recommend a place on Bailey Avenue with creaking pews, worn out carpet with juice stains and a wooden rail beneath a cross.

It is, indeed, a holy place and there are plenty of spots available anytime. Especially at 5 a.m.

Lord, thank you that you are with us always wherever we may be, but especially for those holy places where your presence is especially felt and where we find comfort. Help us during this lenten time to earnestly seek You.

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