Sometimes my hurry seeps into the most precious places.
Sometimes I carry it into eternal spaces, into my living resurrected, into holy things not made for hurry. Hurry is a temporal symptom. It is a physical distraction. Hurry is born of all that passes away.
With a sigh, we lay our hands gently against our children’s backs, guiding them toward the double doors. I carry a bag, heavy on my arm, filled with glucose meters and insulin and fast sugars, diastat in case Riley has a prolonged seizure. Zoe chatters, something about a conversation she had at school, and we nod, barely listening, two parents quickening our late steps.
And then, as we enter the doors, we split in three different directions, receiving hugs as we move past. Our walking has rhythm, marked off in minutes past, minutes gone, minutes left. I feel reluctant because of time, because worship should not feel rushed. I have hardly yet spoken to God, hardly savored the taste of grace, hardly whispered a word of thanks. Since I lifted my head, it’s all been get there, get there, get there. Sometimes it seems my thoughts scatter that way more than any other. And all my hurry makes it hard for me to see.
I sit down in a class hardly breathing and tuck my bag up under a chair. 20 more minutes, I think, appalled to have arrived so late. It takes me 10 of those to figure out where we are on the outline, what the Powerpoint means, 5 more to decipher the part of someone’s comment I can’t quite hear. 20 more minutes. All this marking time has me thinking of Adam, the way he says that very thing about whatever he doesn’t want to do.
“3 more minutes,” he says when I am reminding him how to brush his teeth. ”5 more minutes,” he complains, when he has chores to finish before he can play. ”1 more minute,” he argues, when I make him do something again that he didn’t do well the first time. My son wears his watch like a life jacket in the water, a flashlight in the dark. He never takes it off. He anticipates time, feels calmed by the predictability that minutes pass and time comes. Time comes and God will finish all of this, I think, shifting in my chair.
Class ends, and we weave our way through the chairs, greeting each other. We have moments before the assembly begins, but it’s enough time to scatter a few seeds for growing, the brief promise of love, hope, faith, communion. Given time, the seed scattered now will later root and bloom and bear plump fruit if the soil waits ready. I wander toward Adam, who sits waiting, looking from the bulletin in his lap to the screen in front of him. He finds all our corporate fellowship of little use, only because he speaks in other ways and so few can understand him.
I pat his leg and sit next to him, and slowly our row fills. Zoe wanders in from her class, and Kevin touches someone lightly on the arm and walks toward us from the center aisle. I can see Riley in the foyer, a clipboard in hand, scanning the whole of us to see if someone specific has arrived. She knows more people than we do, remembers, greets everyone by name. Someone wise enlisted her help with attendence.
I wish I could say that I forget everything else as the service begins and our voices join over things most real. I wish I could say I leave my hurry at the door. I wish I could say that for just this little while I live as only an eternal soul truly could—unbound by time. But the truth is that sometimes I live a little too attached to this world. I want to be here, gathered in for worship, but I also feel hungry and confused about the true bread, and I feel overwhelmed by what’s to do when I get home. I think absently of the dishes strewn in hurried heaps on the kitchen counters. Sometimes, even as I sing of looking full into the face of Power, I wonder how I will carry my worn body through an afternoon of laundry and homework. And I worship blind to the real mystery of faith. The carefully kept truth is that I am a resurrected woman who has not always left my grave clothes behind. Sometimes I pick them up again and carry them here with me, here where I come to remember redemption, stuffed in a messy heap in my bag. I don’t know why I keep them. They still stink like death and defeat. Loss and lack and not enough hide crumpled there beneath the chair, well hidden. And so, sometimes I worship with half my heart, while the other half trades eternity for the wasting away of time.
One of the men stands in front as host of the Holy Feast. This communion serves as prelude to the wedding supper of the Lamb, to the blinding union of eternity. It is our rehersal dinner. It is meant to be a fellowship meal.
He speaks briefly, in the interest of time, of the stunning truth that Someone loved me before I knew Him, that He loved me enough to die for every selfish thing I would ever do, every careless word I would ever speak. For a moment, I forget the grave and think of life eternal, this gift of Glory bought with blood. For a moment, I remember that love is the choice to be the sacrifice, to give up all of self for the glory of God. For a moment, I am lost in the observation of grace.
Someone appears at the end of our row with a tray of tiny crackers carefully cut into uniform, sterile squares. It used to be bread, I can’t help but think, bread they tore roughly apart with their fingers. I wonder maybe if the tearing made them own the sacrifice, the way temple worshippers did in the ancient times, placing their own sweaty palms on the bleating head, blood splattering their dusty robes. I wonder if the smell of so much blood poured out made them taste the bitter metal in their mouths. Maybe He made our blood taste of metal because even in the beginning everything that would ever matter was nails pounded through innocent wrists, the sword splitting His side. Water and blood soaked the ground beneath the cross, water and blood splattered their robes, water and blood are mostly what we are. In the end, it’s really only about this, I think, as I push the bit of cracker between my lips.
Next to me, Adam weighs the wafer in his palm, turning it over. He lifts the tiny square and takes a bite. He can barely hold what’s left in his fingers. I watch him carefully, not wanting him to be a distraction. He seems oblivious to the rest of us, our quick swallowing, the fact that the cracker is too small for savoring. He finishes it off, smiling a little. He isn’t watching me, isn’t really aware of me at all.
Our brother appears again at the end of the row, this time with a tray carrying tiny cups of grape juice meant to remind of us of the blood that dripped from head and wrists, the blood that poured from His side and pooled in the dust. It used to be wine, I’m thinking, it used to be a meal. This whole thing used to be part of a meal, the part that reminded of real nourishment, of eternal filling, of true satisfaction. Our efficiency with it sometimes alarms me, the way we have boiled the whole thing down to a few minutes. But there are jokes about the clock on the wall, how long will the sermon be, how we get tired of sitting. But in the end, it’s really only about this.
We pass the tray, balancing it carefully in our hands lest it tip and the juice stain our clothes. We lift the little cups in our fingers, drain them quickly, replace them. Lift, drain, replace, pass. Lift, drain, replace, pass. That’s how it goes, our remembrance of His blood spilled, His life given in exchange for our eternity. Before the tray can reach me, Adam takes a cup in hand.
And he sips. And sips. And sips.
My minutes left son, the one who wears his watch to bed, sips the juice from the tiny cup. His worship stretches time until it stops. He doesn’t seem to care that we’re waiting, that the man at the end of the row is waiting. He lifts the tiny cup like a goblet, licking the drops from his lips. And then he smiles wide, a smile that reaches to his eyes.
I fidget, looking at Kevin, wondering if I should bid our son to hurry up. Everyone is waiting. But there’s something that feels dangerously right about it, the way Adam savors the Supper. He doesn’t seem to notice that everything has stopped, that we’re watching. Finally, he replaces his cup, and I breathe out and take the tray and we resume. Lift, drain, replace, pass.
I look at Kevin and he shrugs. He leans over and whispers in my ear, “Isn’t that really how it should be?”
I nod, absorbing the thought. Yes. That’s exactly how it should be. Savored. Remembered. Strong enough to stop time.
Because in the end, it’s really only about this, and this is what has made us eternal.
Adam’s worship challenges me to savor my own. Suddenly I realize that for all my worry over his distracting, my hurry might have been the only distraction to real worship. This child of mine who struggles so to connect in this world, who finds it so hard to communicate, who marks most of his life in minutes—this child of mine gets lost in worship.
Next to me Adam tastes; he savors; he listens; he sings; he sees. And for just this little while, he doesn’t tell me how many minutes are left.
I am thinking of this as we finish the final hymn. I can see Adam’s lips moving. I can see the emotion in his eyes, the full investment of his heart.
At the end of the song, I sit down to collect my bag, all our bulletins and papers from class. I turn to Adam and find him weeping silently. Tears soak his cheeks. He almost always cries at the end of the service, and he doesn’t have words to explain. He looks at me, wiping the wetness away with his palms. When I ask him why, he buries his head in my lap, covering his eyes with both hands, and he wails. I stroke his hair, sitting back.
“It’s okay,” I whisper in his ear, kissing the back of his head. I savor the weight of him, the knowledge that he still wants to hide in my lap when he feels so much. I taste the moments as they pass, drinking deep, sifting his hair through my fingers. And I thank God for my son.
And that’s when I know, when the Spirit writes this all over my heart:
Worship is meant to be a savoring, a feasting on the Son, a tasting not made for hurry. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8).”
I collect precious moments with my son in my lap, allowing them to take time, and I see that’s what God wants too: the deliberate holding of His son, the savoring of relationship. Always worship happens in eternal sips licked from the lips. I’m meant to hold the weight of the Lamb in my arms, to rest my sweaty palm on the bleating head, to stop time with the observation of grace.
Because in the end, it’s only about this.