I was taken back in time this past Sunday as I stepped into the walls of the sanctuary of the church I grew up in. Years of my life were spent in that church. Much learning and growing for me took place there. The teachers of that learning being the many faces that I saw on Sunday, time having made its mark on all of us.
The service started and within a few minutes, the choir rose to sing the anthem, “In This Very Room.”
The melody took me back in time to when I was a young girl, swinging my legs on the pew and playing the dot game with my brother and sister, my dad’s arm wrapped around my mom and my mom closing her eyes in enjoyment of the song.
It took me back in time to when I was a teenager, learning about who I was and who I wanted to become, with questions of faith and purpose swirling in my head.
It took me back in time to my wedding day, when my dear friend, Ryan, sat down at the grand piano in that sanctuary and beautifully sang the same song, reminding me that though Phillip was heading to war within a couple of weeks, Jesus was with us.
As I sat in the pew this past Sunday, with my whole family surrounding me, I let the words of the song fill my heart. Now I was the one who was closing her eyes in delight.
In this very room, there’s quite enough love for all of us
And in this very room, there’s quite enough joy for all of us
And there’s quite enough hope
And quite enough power
To chase away any gloom
For Jesus, Lord Jesus
Is in this very room
And a fresh thought filled my mind. Yes, Jesus was absolutely within that sanctuary, but also, Jesus – the Holy Spirit – is within me.
He’s within every believer.
So in imagining myself as the “room” that the songs speaks of, I had to ask myself these questions, and I ask you as well, friend: Within me,
Is there enough love for all?
Is there enough joy for all?
Is there enough hope for all?
Is there enough power for all?
When it comes to Jesus, there absolutely is enough. There is abundant love, joy, hope and power for all.
But when it comes to us, we often get in the way.
Our pride, our judgment, our envy, our prejudice, our bias. Ourselves.
Jesus approached a woman – a woman who was from a different culture than he, a woman who was a different religion than he, a woman that was looked down upon by society, a woman who walked in ways completely opposite to what His Father declared to be best, a woman who had internal or potentially external wounds from a hard life lived – not with condemnation, but with love. He approached her with joy. He approached her with hope. He approached her with power.
Jesus chased away the gloom that she felt within.
And she left the encounter with Jesus a changed woman.
What about you?
What about me?
When we have an encounter with one who is different from us – a different culture, religion, social status, moral standard, one who has walked a different road than us, possibly one that is in complete opposition from what we believe – does that person leave changed? Have we represented Christ to them? Do we lead with love or hate? Joy or anger? Hope or condemnation? Power or discouragement?
Jesus – the Holy Spirit- is within us. May we be full of love, joy, hope and power so that all peoples of the earth will experience His love, His joy, His hope and His power through us and in response, worship God Almighty.
Thanks be to God.
Here’s the link to the song if you’d like to listen. It’s an oldie but a goodie. In This Very Room, written by Ron and Carol Harris