I’ve been bewildered all day by what I witnessed today at HRock. Not upset. Not conflicted. Somewhat confused. Some disbelief. But mostly just bewildered.
I’m Presbyterian. To my core I am Presbyterian. We acknowledge the Spirit but spiritual gifts are outside of our comfort zone. Give us some word and sacrament and we are in our happy-content zone. What happened today was not in that zone. It was completely and utterly outside of that zone. And I’m a little freaked out by it.
God’s been doing a work in me the past couple of years. He has been showing me things literally and figuratively about myself and about him. Its been incremental and at times a little freaky but he’s slowly made me comfortable with it. I am no longer freaked out when I see things in rooms (things that no one else can see). I get excited when he speaks to me. When he gives me pictures I say them instead of keeping silent. I have enjoyed playing with God, painting with God and overall just enjoying my time and new experiences with him.
I have learned to be attuned to the Spirit when he is there and to follow him when he leads me. I have learned to listen and to see and to interpret. Its been fun and overwhelming and a little bewildering. But what happened today went beyond that. It went waaaaaaaaaaay beyond my comfort zone. Beyond what has been done in the past couple of years.
4 years ago when I came to Pasadena I visited HRock, back when it was Harvest Rock. My younger sister and I visited this church not sure what kind of church it was. We showed up on a day much like today. Someone came in and was prophesying to the congregation. It reminded me of televangelists like the guy in a Chevy Chase film. It was cheesy and disconcerting and I was totally freaked out. My younger sister was in her element and wanted to go downstairs to get her prophesy read and I wanted to run out of the church as fast as possible.
What happened today was not as freaky (although I can’t put my finger on why) but it was close. The two hour service started as usual with songs I didn’t know…although today we sang a song that I knew and one that we have sung before that I am beginning to love. I’m not really sure why…maybe its the excitement in the room. Any-who. The service started with worship and many many people came down to the front to dance. Which I absolutely love. I love dancing to worship music and I love seeing the joy on the people who go up there to dance. They made announcements that women from Africa were in the room with us and then we prayed for the group of missionaries of sorts who are in India and we prayed for their success.
Any-who that was all normal. Then there were announcements, which to be honest I was barely listening to. And then they announced that the speaker today was a guest (much like the person that spoke 4 years ago) and would be talking about the office of prophesy. I thought this could be interesting. Rebecca Greenwood took the stage and then asked that the worship team come back out so that she could prophesy over them. Some behind the scenes person came and stood behind each member as she did her thing. I was just about to ask my supervisor sitting next to me what that guy was doing there when I got my answer. She was forcefully putting her hands on these people. So much so that I thought she was going to push them over. If they had fallen at that moment I would have thought what happened next had been practiced.
It was actually kind of funny because each member of the worship team looked kind of freaked out which matched what I was thinking. Any-who she had prophesied over three of the team members when she came up to a guy and asked to hold his hands (which is how I can be certain she didn’t make the next part happen). She started prophesying over him and he started to stumble back and before you knew it he was on the floor. She didn’t push him and the behind the scenes guy did catch him. He literally fell in the Spirit. And in that moment I thought, “What the frack (because I was in church) is happening?” And I have been thinking it all day. Now if he had been the only person to fall I probably could have dismissed it as low blood sugar or something but no such luck. After the guy fell she moved on to another guy on the team, one of the guys I love to watch. I think he is the reason I love one of the songs they sang today because the words aren’t very profound but he has this energy that is just awesome. Every time he sings that song and dances to it on stage I just feel God there. Its actually pretty awesome. Anyway he got his prophesy and nothing physically happened to him which was awesome because I wasn’t sure I could handle more, but more did come. When she got to the last person from the worship team she also fell but not only did she fall, she convulsed. I have a friend who does these kind of weird movements in the spirit so I was kind of used to it, kind of mind you. Any-who this girl was convulsing before Rebecca got to her and as she got her prophesy she fell back, passed out and then began convulsing again.
Then Rebecca presented a rushed sermon and then spoke over two of the female pastors on staff. One, who seems mostly quiet began to yell and then convulse and then she fell as well. Another who fell back into her seat. Both after receiving their word seemed as confused and freaked out as I was. These people who fell were generally out of sorts when they stood again. They were not faking what happened to them. Which is probably what freaked me out the most.
They weren’t expecting what happened to them. They had no idea that at the end of the service they would be on the floor. They had no clue that they would get a word in such a bodily manner.
So all day I have been processing what happened at church today. Processing is probably too strong of a word. For the most part I have been avoiding thinking about what happened today. Mostly because I don’t doubt what it was. I don’t doubt the sincerity of it. I felt God in that room before that happened. I felt God there in the morning before I was blown away buy 4 people falling. I felt like crying because I felt the love of God in that room, falling over everyone that was there.
I’m still confused about what happened. I’m a skeptic at my core. Something I probably got from my Presbyterian brothers and sisters as well as my family. I’ve tried all day to dismiss what happened at church today as a fluke or something that was concocted for the benefit of the church but that doesn’t seem accurate.
As I was leaving church today I kept asking myself what was so disturbing about today. I’ve heard stories all year from my supervisor about weird things the spirit has been doing. I’ve mostly smiled and tried to wrap my mind around what she has been saying but seeing it is completely different. If you could have seen the skeptical group of worship team members that walked on to the stage and the believing worship team members that left the stage you would be as confused as I am.
I’ve heard of God doing such things but never in my life have I seen it. I have been so overcome by the love of God that I have laughed, cried, and danced but I have never seen someone fall down because of the Spirit. It was weird.
I don’t doubt that it happened. I don’t doubt that God made it happen. I’m just weird-ed out by the whole thing. I didn’t feel unsafe as I left church this morning I just felt numb. Like some weird thing had just been witnessed and I had no words for how I felt about it. I still don’t really know how I feel about it.
The only thing I know for certain is that this 9 month internship is going to be interesting…..