Faith Matters

A glimpse of how heaven sees worship

On World Communion Day, I sat in the balcony. The view was stunning.

I sat in the side balcony of our local church for the World Communion Sunday service. This is where I worship with my wife when I am not on the road serving the seminary. We chose the balcony when our sons were teenagers, as part of a deal we made in order to get them to worship. But after they went to college Dawne and I continued to head up to the balcony. It makes us feel closer to our sons, and it offers the best leg room in the sanctuary.

It also offers a great view of the congregation. During the distribution of the communion elements I found myself focused not on prayer, as I should have been, but on those in the pews below. I don’t know them as well as I would if I were their pastor. But over the years of sitting in that balcony, I’ve come to recognize many of their faces. I can even see the lines on them.

There are the young parents who can’t wait for the children’s time in the liturgy, when their kids will be invited beyond the doors of the sanctuary into someone else’s hands for the rest of the hour. Sitting nearby are exhausted professionals, students, teachers, shopkeepers, secretaries, and those who thought retirement would be a lot less stressful than it is. They all find their way into the pews in hopes of encountering something that will restore their souls which have been flattened down by another hard week. A few of them probably just got bad news from a physician, or a boss, or a spouse. All of them got bad news from the newspapers. More than once over the years I have noticed an older woman start coming to worship alone when she used to be accompanied by her husband.