An Imagination at Worship

Visions; the moment where imagination meets worship and grasps at unassailable truths.

I personally don’t often have visions during worship or prayer, but neither are they uncommon. I wouldn’t classify them as words of knowledge or prophecy but at the same time neither would I say it’s entirely myself; I’m not ‘pretending’, as it were.

The following was something that I saw during the singing of praise in chapel having just shared the Eucharist. The music was playing, people were singing and hands, though not mine, were being raised heavenward as our spirits sought God’s.

I closed my eyes and this is what I saw.

There was an old, empty hall reminiscent of Heorot or perhaps Théoden’s Meduseld in Rohan. Tall, aging beams of wood held the thatched roof aloft whilst the floor was just brown dusty ground illuminated by the afternoon sun. As I gazed upon the open space, there appeared a naked man with his back to me. The sunshine was as a spotlight on this stationary man. He dipped his head reverently for a moment before stomping his right foot and launching into an erratic dance that seemed as pure poetry. Every step found and formed the unheard beat and his arms and contorting body formed shapes that sang joy. Mesmerised I watched this naked man dancing around, his bright eyes alive and sweat glazing his body.

As he danced, the ground beneath his feet seemed to change to polished gold and the dust of the room faded away. Where once there were creaky wooden beams there were now magnificent marble pillars that seem to hold up the very sky itself. The tumbling beat of his feet was joined by an increasing number of drums and I realised that I stood in the presence of a choir as I’d never seen before. I could not bring myself to look at them though, this naked man in his dance held me transfixed. Music swelled up and it sounded as if the instruments themselves had gained a free voice to sing a chaotic cacophony of joy, exalting the dancing of the naked man.

I watched the naked man dancing and heard the angels singing as a throne now appeared descending from the sky. This was no golden decoration of extravagance, it was much more like a grandfather’s old chair that had been in the family for generations, polished and molded for comfort from eternal use. Still the naked man danced and as I looked on our eyes locked and he held my gaze whilst never once letting up the speed and intensity of his dance. I was filled with a sense of his joy and dawning understanding that this was worship. His smile was infectious as he whirled and danced, now dressed in a loose white robe tied with a red cord around his waist. With a growing understanding, my body loosened up and I stepped forward to join him in his dance.

As I stepped forwards in my heart’s eye, I became conscious once again of the service in chapel; of the singing and the prayers and, with tears in my eyes, I raised my hand and sang along to the dancing of the naked man.

Worship isn’t simply something we do and it isn’t for our benefit either; worship is when we join with God in his own Joy and glorious life, when we are grasped by the spirit of God and united with Christ so that we may stand before the throne of The Lord most high. More importantly, worship doesn’t mean that we have to feel something, we may be moved to joy and to sing with a loud voice but we may also stand in a silence that seems to echo awkwardness for miles. Yet still Jesus is by the right hand of the Father interceding for us, praying for us and with us to the Father through the union of the Spirit of Love.

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