Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 Hours of Adoration :)

This week I enjoyed the most fun adoration hour I've ever experienced in my whole life.

And then I experienced another hour. 

And another hour after that.  :)

I was coming home from a 2-hour trek from New Jersey, when I spontaneously decided to venture out to St. Joseph's, an old parish in the city that I heard had perpetual adoration. 

I called a friend for directions, got there and parked my car, knocked on the side door, and hoped to get in.

The perpetual adoration chapel was, of course, locked at this hour.  Whoever was inside was following strict orders to not let any strangers in.  And this is certainly advisable, given that the area in which this church resides is not the safest place to be at night.

But I kept standing outside the little side chapel door, and I started praying that somehow God would work a miracle and get me inside to see Him.

Soon an older woman arrived.  When I asked if I could join her for adoration, she graciously apologized and explained that I could not enter unless I was on the schedule as an adorer and unless I had a key to the church. 

I completely understood. 

But, as my feet began to turn back to the parking lot, the Holy Spirit nudged me to mention the names of my friends to this woman, in the hopes that she might recognize the name of another adorer.

Finally, I said a name she recognized, and this made her feel comfortable enough to let me in.  Yes, my dear friend Karen's name was the ticket that got me in to see Jesus!

No sooner had I spent 15 minutes in quiet contemplation of Jesus, who walks in -- but Karen herself!  She was absolutely stunned to see me!  And I was stunned to see her!

We hugged joyfully, giggled as quietly as we could and then adored Him individually, our noses buried deep in our contemplative prayer books.

But with the passage of another 15 minutes, we soon found ourselves completely alone with Jesus!  Hooray!

With that, we began talking (in a joyful whisper) about our faith, while still being mindful that Jesus' loving eyes were watching us, just as much as we were watching Him.

And then I suggested that we start singing to Him!  

I kicked off my flip-flops, placing my bare feet on the cool, marble floor.  I then stood to give myself better posture for singing.

We flipped through the hymnal and picked out our favorite songs to sing.  Karen and I tried harmonizing as best we could, giggling at our mistakes, while telling Jesus out loud that we were doing the best we could with the voices He gave us!  Haha.

No one came to relieve us after the first hour.  And we didn't want to leave Jesus alone.  So we stayed a second hour. 

And no one came to relieve us after the second hour.  So we stayed a third hour.  We just sang as much as we could.  And we loved every second of it.  Our private time with Jesus absolutely flew by.

A few minutes before 11 PM, we heard a car pull up and park outside.  Each of us nervously ran back to our separate pews and tried to pretend that we had been praying quietly the whole time.

When this old man entered, I think he could tell that we were hiding something that was too beautiful to keep veiled.  He came up to us, as we had gathered our bags for departure, his face smiling widely with the assurance that we were going to tell him something beautiful.

And so we did. 

We giggled as we explained what we had done for the last 3 hours, and this surprised and delighted him.  And he seemed to love us for it, and--before we left--he asked if he could pray over us.  He drew us near to him and put his hands on our heads, and he asked God to bless us -- and assured us that beautiful blessings were coming into our lives.

As Karen and I walked to the parking lot, we marveled at how generous God was with us tonight.  What an unexpected, delightful three hours that was.  Perhaps those were three of the most meaningful ones of our lives.