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My Cry Night

"Cry Night" is infamous.  It's the night of our annual mission trip when we have a different kind of worship service.  The band plays and sings out of sight, behind a curtain.  The screen displays names of God, Scripture, and words to songs.  There is no sermon.  There is no humor.  There are no videos.  There are some directions to pray, alone or in small groups.  

This worship experience evokes strong emotion, often inexplicably.  I wonder each year what it is that affects students.  Is it the stillness and quiet that differs so starkly from their loud, busy lives?  Is it the opportunity to focus on God and themselves in an environment with fewer distractions?  Is it the Holy Spirit?  Is it manipulation?  Is it a combination of the above?  

I don't know.  

This year I had a moving experience on Cry Night.  I didn't cry (...not until Tanner's honest, vulnerable, and emotional message during PCC devotion time).

The service opened with "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."  Simple words with a simple tune.  Simple words and a simple tune that have been truth over my life.  Simple words and a simple tune that a little girl sang when life was simple.  Simple words and a simple tune that lie dormant in a girl's life when life wasn't simple.  Simple words and a simple tune that stop the heart of a complex adult, that cut through years of faith experience:  I have decided to follow Jesus.

My own journey is more like...

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have no idea how to follow Jesus.

I have forgotten to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow my plan.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided not to follow Jesus.

No, really, I have decided to follow Jesus.

This song was the cry of my naive heart as a kid.  This song is the cry of my impure, adult pastor heart.

I have decided to follow Jesus.  Though none go with me, I still will follow.  No turning back.

As I assess where I am now, I sing with conviction that I have decided to follow Jesus.  I now know enough to know that I don't really know all that "following Jesus" means, but that it's risky.  

I sing that though none go with me, I still will follow.  But, I sing that naively still, because I don't know what that is like.  My husband, my twin sister, the 87 other people on this mission team go with me.  I am surrounded by people who go with me in following Jesus. 

What strikes me as I assess where I am now is "no turning back."  As I move into new areas of life (this is the first student mission trip when I've not been mistaken for a teenager; I guess adulthood is full-fledged now) and particularly new areas of ministry, I must confess "no turning back."  I don't get to give up following Jesus.  I don't get to turn back, even when I'm frustrated, annoyed, tired, anxious, and scared.  God has called me to follow him.  A church has ordained me to listen, to preach, to pray, to baptize, to marry, to teach, to offer bread and wine, and to show up as a representative of God's.  No turning back.      

I have decided to follow Jesus.  Though none go with me, I still will follow.  No turning back.

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