Worship: A Hotel Room In Amman?

Posted by ajenkins on August 19, 2013 under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

This past Sunday morning, as I awoke in my hotel room in Amman, Jordan, I immediately thought of a time of worship. Here I was in an Islamic nation, surrounded by a great deal of religion and reverence and I really had no where to go and no one with whom to join in worship. So, without the normal “church” surroundings with which I am so accustomed, I put on some worship music on my iPhone and began to worship. While on this pilgrimage I have always carried my Bible, but I didn’t have my Prayerbook. I decided to see just how much of the worship service I could remember. All of you Saint James’ faithful who worship at 8:00 AM know that I have often said that when I loose my place I revert to Rite One. So, that’s what I did. I just began the 8:00 worship service with all of you there and began with those powerful, reverent and comforting words. “Blessed be God, Father and Holy Spirit.” I have to say, God gave me a gift and I think I was able to say, pray, worship the entire service. Okay, probably a bit of it was my paraphrase, but not much. Please understand. I’m not just being proud of my memory. On the contrary. I’m being blessed by the incarnation of those words, that worship which has become part of my very soul.

Now you may be wondering, what I did when I got to the sermon? I’m sure Louise would say, “What else? He preached.” She would be right. Well, it wasn’t a sermon. It was more like a prayer, my personal proclamation before God. I was so overwhelmed by the simple, powerful opening words of the worship, blessed be the Trinity, that this became my prayer, my sermon, my proclamation of faith. I was inspired by my location. Here I was alone, in a hotel room, in an Islamic nation, amongst a people who faithfully kneel to pray three times a day to the God of Abraham, the Monotheistic God (Please, this is not the place for me to argue the finer points of Allah, Yahweh and The Trinity) Here I was alone, in the midst of Islamic monotheism and the power and the presence of the Holy Trinity, God in three persons joined me. Or should I rightly say, I joined them? My heart was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As I stood and prayed and talked to the Trinity, gave thanks to each Person of God and for Them I was taken into their fellowship. Jesus prayed that we (that’s us and God) might be one as He and the Father are one (John 17). The Apostle Paul called this the third heaven (2 Cor. 12 & Jude 14,15). This was living water for my soul.

Before taking this sabbatical, this pilgrimage, God gave me several words of direction and encouragement. You all know one of them. It was God’s direction to pray for you, by name on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. Another word He gave me, a promise, which I shared with only a couple of people, was the promise of Sacred Ecstasy. I must say, when I heard that, I wasn’t even sure I knew what it meant. I tried researching it a bit, but no help. So, I thought, okay, this sacred ecstasy will happen in some Holy place in Jerusalem: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, the Garden of Gethsemane. Or maybe up in Galilee: Capernaum, the site of so many miracles, the Mount of the Beatitudes or even in Jericho at the Mount of the Temptations. Isn’t this God’s way? This amazing moment, this fellowship within the person of God: Father, Son and Spirit was happening in a hotel room in Amman.
Isn’t this God’s way? Isn’t this how He has revealed Himself to humanity since Creation and the Garden? God reveals Himself in His fullness, not dependent on holy places or holy things, but for and through holy people who submit in humility, reverent fear and worship of Him.

My prayer today is that upon my return and because of this great experience you have given me, that God will make the gift and joy and wonder and power and sacredness of the revelation of the Holy Trinity more real and powerful for you. God has truly given us a treasure. May we treasure it and share it.

1 John 1:1-4

  • BJ said,

    Arthur, I’m praying that what you are praying for us at St James does become more real and powerful. Thank you for praying for us and being our awesome teacher. BJ