It took years of praying before he stepped foot into my church.
His memory burned raw from so many who had approached him in younger years, telling him he was going to hell. Anger and hurt throbbing because of arrogance of those judging without asking, listening, knowing him.
Judging him because of his dreads and septum ring, among other things.
And he was coming with an added chip on his shoulder, a growing distance between us because I kept telling him about this Jesus that I loved and now wanted to follow Who said I shouldn't be with him, definitely shouldn't marry him, if he didn't love Him as well.
I told him he shouldn't judge Him without knowing Him. He could identify with that.
There is so much I could say about this issue of judging others for now I won't get sidetracked but simply state this truth: discernment and judgement are NOT the same thing.
So he walked in quiet and slow, an observing presence that could not go unnoticed. He stuck out like a sore thumb, even in the back row. Locks hanging long, gold-tipped. Older church-ladies stared sideways.
He came, he listened, he thought much and said little.
So I was shocked when he lifted his expressionlessness for a moment, said he really enjoyed the sermons, but(as his face contorted as with a foul stench), the music was just too gory for him, really wasn't enjoyable.
This coming from this metal music loving, mosh-pit smashing man? This coming from him who had music t-shirts with print I can't even edit enough to share here? This coming from a former video-gamer who played things I couldn't stomach being in the room with?
Church music. Really??
Then every time we went, he pointed out what I had never really absorbed, thought about... words I had just mindlessly been singing.
Washed by the blood... blood poured out... fountains of blood... nothing but the blood...
The examples went on and on and on. It seemed every song for weeks and weeks had something about blood and death and extreme suffering of soul and body.
Why had I never felt the weight of the words?
He who has ears, let him hear.
And years later, now in love with the One who he once found so offensive, Whose blood he rightly took as a marked stain against him... and then for him... he still humbles me with how well he pays attention to what we do in church, and what we sing, and why. I think about this a lot around Easter time because several Easters ago he asked me where Jesus' bones were buried, and our conversation lead me through the basics of believing in Christ that I hadn't thought about in. so. long.
His lack of churchy-ness has been a great eye-opening education for me in many ways. It brings me to tears the way my husband takes communion now each week. It truly bothers him how people rush through it, because he then feels rushed(because the communion servers will leave after a few moments of no one walking down the aisle), and he really wants to repent and thank God before partaking, in awe of Him, this awesome gift of brokenness making us whole that we celebrate especially this Sunday.
And he's been singing this song for days now... under his breath, then louder, then to me and girls with passionate goofy-seriousness that only our privileged eyes will ever see.
And he just has to play the video/song for me, doesn't shy away from accentuating each word, a solemn Joy lit up in his face, lifted in his voice...
"knowing I'm a sinful man... covered by the blood of the Lamb... Majesty! Majesty! Your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in Your hands! Majesty!..."
Please listen... and hear... and worship...