This post is about one facet of talking out loud to God, a subject I broached on Friday. My experience is that there is an enhancement of the Sunday worship service---that is more than psychological---by a certain amount of talking through it in one's pew. One does not wish to be boorish; this can take place at barely audible levels (unless you find yourself in a black church in Philadelphia, and then the sky's the limit). The important thing is not decibel level but purposefulness of speech that the speaker can clearly distinguish in himself from mere thought.
I have noticed that when in the course of a hymn the congregation sings something like "In Christ alone my hope is found," if I then whisper privately to Jesus that he is my only hope, or something along those lines, I feel that I have made a connection with Him, and I have closed a spiritual circle. And when in the course of a sermon the pastor speaks a truth or an exhortation or a promise that especially smites my heart and I instantly pray over it, something profound seems to happen in the heavenlies (a materialist would never buy this), as if a circuit is completed.
Picture the way of an electric current. It goes forth from its source at a remote power station, making its way to a utility tower and over wires to your house and to the lamp on your table into the light bulb to the filament of tungsten. But if no contact is made in the bulb for whatever reason, the juice has traveled all this way in vain. At the last step it was stillborn.
Or picture a worship service as a lover's rendezvous with God. He initiates the love talk: the preacher preaches. We sit there like statues listening. Nary a sound is heard in the room, neither of assent or dissent. The preacher ends and we move on to the last scheduled part of the program.
How would a lover feel if his beloved were as stone-faced to his overtures as we are to God's in the Sunday sermon? Would she not rather reciprocate with continuously uttered exchanges of affection? Wouldn't she confess her love in his pauses? Wouldn't he be waiting for her to ratify their love with her declared acceptance of his promises, and with her own pledges? Do we not "contract" from our side to seal the occasion's solemnity? Is not the Sunday sermon only completed, in some real sense, by our quiet refrains of "Amen" and "Thank you" and "Have mercy, Lord"?
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