By Elisa Morgan
It was a normal Saturday evening at church. We stood and sang and sat and listened and stood to sing again. We turned to greet one another and then we sat once again for announcements, the offering and a video testimony. Like I said, normal.
My pastor took the stage, his Bible, softened by years of use, curled in his hand as he began to talk about the passage for the week. I leaned back in the pew, my back pressing against the upholstery, my legs crossed before me, my Bible open on my lap.
Wait - something was different. My pastor's voice rose and fell, sped and slowed, rippled with laughter here and there. What was it I was sensing? An echo? No, a reverberation. A vibration. His voice was moving through the pew as if the pew itself were a speaker. I could hear his voice and at the same time, I could feel his voice.
I paused to listen intentionally with my ears. How was this bizarre occurrence in our sanctuary happening? Right here, in the midst of an ordinary service? Was it the number of other bodies in my row - or lack thereof - allowing the echo? Could it be the arrangement of souls in the room around me? Was it the location where my pastor was standing on the stage or some technical tweak in his over-the-ear microphone?
Mesmerized, I then listened carefully with more than my ears. I took in the tempo of voice and vibration through my back and up my spine. I placed my palm down on the cushion next to me to discover the reverberation crawling up my arm to my shoulder and somehow inside to my heart. Allowing the tentacles of my inner being to connect with the message from God, given through the words of my pastor, I realized that this must be what it feels like to listen with my soul.
"We are to be a peaceful presence in our world, living out the love of Jesus to those who need it most. As your life gets worse, someone else's life will get better on the back eddy of your suffering. Allow God to use you. Allow Jesus to be experienced by others through you."
I shifted my body just a bit and the sensation ceased. Fidgeting to recover the moment - without success - I wondered at what had just happened. In a normal moment, an unexpected experience melded physical and spiritual in such a way that I sensed God's unique wooing to all of me to be present to all he wants to bring me in his world and to all the ways he wants me to respond.
Was this surround sound available every week, but I wasn't often in a posture to hear? Could it available to me outside of the pew, in the everyday flow of my everyday life?
I left church that evening with my ears - and my being - buzzing. What would it mean if I lived full-time in a yielded posture to God's "surround sound" in my days? Allowing him entrance to my thinking, yes, but also to my being and doing?
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:4
Elisa Morgan speaks and writes to equip and encourage others. She is the cohost of Discover the Word. Her books include Hello, Beauty Full, The Beauty of Broken and She Did What She Could. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, on Facebook and elisamorganauthor on Instagram.