Singing along to “Holy Water” during worship I was really feeling the joy in worship. I love this song. It moves me and promotes movement from me. I think this was the heart of Amanda’s message today. We are to choose to hear, speak, and feel words within us that move us, that generate goodness within so that we can act with goodness on the outside.
Amanda reminded us that we are called to speak over ourselves the truth. This can mean a lot of things to each of us. For me, this means to expel the devil from my mind and heart. Speaking God’s truth from Roman’s 8:31, (which of course we all LOVE), if God is for us, who can be against us? It is pretty wild to me that I can believe this with my whole heart and then feel such intense fear of loss, of instability, of lack. It’s easy to speak lies, falsities, the “untruth” to ourselves when we are not in the daily, and maybe even hourly, habit of reminding ourselves of God’s goodness and how much He wants for us.
When I feel myself getting taken away in the fear from evil infiltrating my brain with lies about me, about my life, about what I deserve, about my God, I immediately declare it and ask for the reassurance that God is good, God is true and He is always for us and that His power and love will always outweigh anything that evil seeks to do. When I say that I declare it, I mean that I immediately go to my husband, and if he is unavailable I go to my closest girlfriends who are Christ-followers and I express my doubt and fear and worry. They speak the truth out to me and in doing so, they are reminded of this truth as it is experienced in their own lives. I am blessed by the leadership and core belief that these people have in those moments of my lack.
Some might even ask, “Well how do you know that you’re feeling this, or that it’s evil trying to tunnel its way into your mind?” I know it’s evil because it has to be sneaky, like a thief in the night—there to rob me of my joy of the present and of the hope of my future. I know it is evil because it feels like a tunneling. It doesn’t just pop into my head, it’s like a burrowing of something into my mind—where I start thinking of all the reasons why I can’t do something, why it won’t happen, or why I do not deserve whatever it is. I know that it's not God because it seeks to harm me and make me afraid. Even if I am able to acknowledge that it’s the devil trying to rob me of my joy, I still need help blasting him out of the tunnel.
Amanda talked to us about the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his legacy with how he spoke the truth into himself and then blessed others with it and used his words to inspire action. But even someone as inspiring as Dr. King had good friends to help him be blessed with the truth, with love, and loyalty to our very gracious task of loving thy neighbor. Mahalia Jackson encouraged MLK to share his zeal for the dream that he had. I hadn’t know this until Amanda mentioned it and then I did a little deep dive into the history behind the speech as well. He hadn’t even planned on speaking about the dream or mentioning it at all! These powerful words—wherein the heart of their message is loving your neighbor as you love yourself—were not in his original text. Mahalia Jackson yelled out, she blessed him with the reminder that he had a truth inside of him that he needed to share. He needed to share it so that others could be inspired and stop being “couch potatoes” with their words, but instead put them into action in order for all of God’s children to be blessed, in order for all of God’s children to be treated as worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made—for us ALL.
We are not meant to do this thing we call life alone. We are not meant to experience our highs and our lows internally. In the “Holy Water” song, she sings, “I don’t want to abuse your grace, God I need it everyday, it’s the only thing that ever really makes me want to change.” What’s beautiful about this is that the grace we can receive from God is endless when we ask for it, when we speak the truth and when we give and receive the blessing of the truth from others. Sometimes we just need that little push that Jackson gave MLK.
Who is your Mahalia Jackson in your life? Do you have more than one? To whom are you a Mahalia? How can you bless someone today? That person might be YOU.