Monday, March 24, 2008

Intentions, prayers, and bees

Leaving for a working visit to GA in an emotionally ragged state was not a good idea, but that's how it was for me at the end of February. We had delayed the trip already, so there wasn't much choice about timing, but my other choices may seem odd. It felt important to me to intentionally connect with a part of my history from which I was disconnected and to honor the struggle of so many of my fellow southerners in particular. The one thing that I wanted to visit on the way was the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I knew it could be an uncomfortable experience, but had no idea how moving it would be. In the car I also began to read The Secret Life of Bees which submerged me into the racially intense summer of 1964. It tells the struggles of a 14-yr old white girl who ends up living with 3 black bee-keeping sisters, becoming family with them and learning their wisdom. I guess it was a surprise to me how much it paralleled what this trip was about. I had just bought it the day before to have something to read. Seems I had heard of it at some point in Southern Living, but really didn't have a clue what I was getting into!

We spent our first night away from CO in Kansas City visiting our good friends, Matt and Trish, who used to be part of our close-knit group who vacationed together, went to church together, celebrated events together, etc., and we were so glad to be able to relax and catch up with them. After dinner they took us to the International House of Prayer (IHOP) (where their son is a musician and worship leader.) I've heard about it for years and haven't gotten to visit before. It was so refreshing to sit in that "prayer room" and experience the worship. While some young people walked around praying, others formed a line at the microphone to offer up 15-second prayers on behalf of other youth who were in town for a conference. They were passionately pleading for the hearts and minds of their generation to be touched and captured by God. A few people (men and women) danced in the back of the room. The worship team on stage played some songs people seemed to know and at other times began to sing some of the phrases, prayers, and verses spoken by the intercessors. It all worked and weaved together. I noticed all ages involved in worship around the room, but many were college aged. Some like to just come sit in the worship environment and study on their laptops. The main worship leader on keyboards had a lot of Stevie Wonder style going on. He was a big black guy with long braids and lots of energy. At times a 4-man hip-hop dance group was on stage or down in front. This was a revved up version of IHOP that some of the old-timers question. They are used to a quieter, perhaps less performance-based, more ethereal sound. For me it was pure refreshment and spiritual energy. It cut through some stuff that quieter music might not. It takes all kinds. God is big-- and worship is bigger and broader than we can imagine. I needed this little respite before the rest of my trip.

The next day was a long one.


Blogger Susan said...

So glad you're back. I want to hear more about this experience!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

thanks, susan. Do you want to hear more about the worship time? I think they have a demo online, but it is nothing like what we experienced. I would like to be able to go there once a week.

9:46 PM  
Blogger kathyescobar said...

hey jenny, sounds like an amazing trip! i would love to see all the pictures! i am so enthralled with the civil rights movement, too, and now you have made me want to go to memphis for the very first time. cool description of IHOP, too, i had not pictured it that way....

7:52 AM  

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