The piano refused to budge.
It squatted on the floor of Triune Mercy Center's chapel, anchored by its 1200 pounds.
This was a problem.
In just five days, people would stream into the sanctuary, ready to hear award winning singer/songwriter Kyle Matthews sing, ready to add their love offering as the plates are passed, giving what they can to benefit this church to the homeless, to the alcoholics and the drug addicted, to the mentally ill and the destitute. And to others like the rest of us, who worship here from time to time, who wear our brokenness on the inside, where it's less easy for others to see.
What was Pastor Deb going to do? It's not as if tiny Deb and the office ladies could move it.
The piano had to be lifted onto the worship platform, three, maybe four feet high.
If only a team of angels would materialize in the night, as all the homeless congregants scatter to the shelters and back under the bridges, and the rest of us tuck ourselves into our comfy beds and close our eyes.
I could just imagine it: angels singing a heavenly heave ho, then lifting the piano into the air with just their pinky fingers, setting it gently down, and vanishing into the dark.
God of all power could easily send a flock of helpers, but I didn't actually see that happening.
It was a puzzle.
Oh, but that's right. Puzzles are God's specialty.
He had certainly solved one for me.
I'd spent a great part of the summer puzzling out a question with my fourth grade Sunday School class. What exactly is the Kingdom of God that Jesus was always talking about? Is it on the inside or outside of us? Do we find it on earth or after we die?
We'd read parables where Jesus compares it to a mustard seed or to yeast. He said it belonged to the children and the poor, and the rich have an awfully hard time getting in.
What in the world was Jesus talking about?
I think I know now. You may not believe it, but yesterday, I saw the Kingdom of God for myself!
The Kingdom of God is just like Triune Mercy Center, where we line up all together, the sick and the well, and kneel at the altar for communion.
Where we hold out our cupped hands and wait for bread,
where we drink down every drop of juice, and remember Jesus together.
Where we pray for forgiveness and thank God for a love that surpasses human understanding. Where both the stomach-hungry and the soul-hungry sing songs of praise to God.
Where the broken pass the plate, each gives what she can, and Pastor Deb raises it high above the altar, thanking God, the Source of All Goodness, for each gift.
Oh, and guess what else I saw.
I saw a flock of angels!
I really did. I watched them rush to the front of the sanctuary after worship was over. Twenty or thirty men, some unshaven, in tattered clothes, clogging the aisles, trying to get to that piano.
One man gave the signal, and in three seconds, they had lifted it together high, then moved it through the air onto the platform, setting it down as gently as a cloud.
It was a better show than the pinky finger version in my head!
Thank you God, for letting us occasionally catch sight of your kingdom here on earth. Help us bring the kingdom to each other as we lift each others burdens together.
Have you seen the kingdom lately? I'd love to hear about it! (Or anything else you'd like to say!)
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
If you can make it to Greenville on Friday, Sept. 10, be sure not to miss Kyle's concert at 7pm and the art show beforehand. It's going to be great!
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
*Photo by Nesster, creative commons
PS. In case you missed this last time I posted it, here's some more info on Triune, as told by my friend Rev. Deb Richardson- Moore.