We often hear claims that God is not real. The positions range from those who may consider He was at some point during the days of our early ancestors but surely not today, to those who do not entertain the possibility at all. Some may feel He is around but doesn’t make Himself known except randomly without design. Others doubt a supernatural possibility of His existence, or if so, not one with good intentions or complete authority given the state of our world.
The variety of views of the existence of God and His abilities is endless. Yet to those of us who know He is real and are in deep relationship with Him, events such as the following are mind blowing.
Last weekend I was invited to a murder mystery birthday party. My guess is that the group of attendees represented the full gamut of faiths and beliefs or not in God. I had never been to a murder mystery event before so really didn’t know what to expect. I learned it’s like acting out the game of Clue – most of the partygoers play a role in a story whose plot is known by the organizer in a drama involving the play-acted death of one or more of those at the party. The attendees act out the character parts they have been assigned, mingle and ask questions throughout the evening trying to figure out whodunit. The setting was the 1920s so it was a very fun evening as we all dressed up for that era and acted the parts of our quite colorful characters.
We were people of a century ago living the lives of benefactors, flappers, gangsters, singers, and socialites, enjoying our fake cigarettes on long holders, dripping in jewels, taunting each other, discussing bootlegging and speakeasies, the issues of our times. Later in the evening we retired to the parlor of the perfectly appointed turn of the century inn as we readied for the evening’s musical entertainment.
The guest of honor requested the pianist to play her favorite song. Interestingly, it was a hymn. Not a piece from the 1920s, not a modern tune, not a dance number. It was a hymn.
I can’t say I was familiar with the particular piece, but her introduction and the words of the song changed the entire demeanor of the room. For it was a hymn proclaiming Yeshua’s directive to love God and to love your neighbor, to love each other. As she made the request for this piece, a co-host of the party responded that was his favorite Scripture passage, which he quoted, and so the music played. Somehow as I looked around at the room silenced and intently listening, it was such a transformation of the entire experience. For all of the evening until then we had been play acting, having a wonderful time pretending to be characters in a story, enjoying a fantasy, an escape experience. Now, with the choice of that song and conversation, all sat silently and listened as it felt as if something real was happening.
The juxtaposition of our roles to that music while it played, the silence in the room which had just been filled with playful chatter, now all in awe of the beautiful music, the meaningful lyrics, the comments . . . Something had changed. After the song ended, the guest of honor went on to describe her experiences in church, how this song spoke to her, how loving each other is what really matters.
Just then her husband playfully revealed a picture of Jesus from his jacket pocket since he had worn the suit he was wearing to a funeral. Really! HaShem surely has a sense of humor! To me, it was beyond belief how God could orchestrate such a chain of events. Jesus was in the room, visually on a pocket-sized picture and in spirit.
Did the hymn invite Him? Was it the beauty in the heart of the guest of honor? In some mysterious example of God meeting us where we are, the combination of the music and the honoree’s words brought to the event the presence of another attendee – Him.
Later that evening as the pianist was just noodling some notes, it turned out he was playing the melody of yet another favorite of the birthday celebrant’s, this time a song from her homeland. An attendee quipped “The Holy Spirit must be here!” I would say, “Indeed!” and “Amen!”
For this party occurred on Sunday, on the heels of Shavuot and the day of Pentecost! Mere coincidence? I would say surely not. Rather, we were in this day and age, in these times when so many doubt the existence of God, blessed to feel His Presence. A simple song choice, a few words of Scripture, words of love, open hearts, Divine Love.
He’s always here, just waiting for the invite to make His Presence known. I can’t wait to invite Him in again. How about you?