What do they see?

You know the view is going to be a good one when you see the reaction of those ahead of you who have reached the summit. Hands lifted to shield eyes from the sun. Cameras clicked, clicked, clicked. Bodies still. Voices hushed.

All eyes gazed in wonder at the canvas before them.

What do they see?

Lulworth view
What do they see?

Seeing them so captivated is enough to hasten my pace to the top. Surely it will all be worth it. And then I see it. Oh, then I see it! What consumed them now consumes me. Together we savour the view.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 17.55.25
This is what they saw – the beautiful view of Lulworth Cove in Dorset

Walking away from the vantage point my mind returns to the question that earlier hastened my walk to the top, except this time I am thinking about an altogether different view. Moses took off his shoes. David danced. Ezekiel fell facedown. Jeremiah trembled as if drunk. A prostitute poured expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. Paul and Silas sang.

What do they see?

Today as I see others before God, I wonder yet again. Hands stretched as far as they will go. Eyes shut and raised to the heavens. Heads bowed. Knees to the floor. Legs and arms moving to a joyful dance. Tears falling. Songs sung with heartfelt passion and wonder. They have ascended to a vantage point and cast their eyes over something beautiful. They have caught sight of Someone. They are moved, affected, captivated.

What do they see?

I was given No Compromise, the biography of Keith Green, for Christmas. In 1982, at age 28 and having been a Christian only seven years, he and two of his children, along with nine others, were fatally involved in a plane crash. Green was utterly and infectiously sold out for God, and his short Christian life touched the lives of countless people, continuing to this day, much of it through his fiercely passionate songs. His widow, Melody, who wrote the biography, relates a revival service he led one night in Tulsa, USA:

“Over and above all this, though, it felt like the Spirit of God had settled on us in a thick cloud. It was a brightness you could almost see — something gentle and tender, yet infinite. I knew something powerful was taking place.

“So did Keith. He’d crawled under the nine-foot grand piano to pray and cry out to God. I sensed he was getting himself out of the way to let the Holy Spirit do his work. I could barely see Keith from where I was sitting. And people kept going up to the microphone, crawling over a sea of bodies to get there.”

In the biography of the famous writer and preacher A.W. Tozer, James L. Snyder includes an anecdote provided by a man called Raymond McAfee:

“Tozer knelt by his chair, took off his glasses and laid them on the chair. Resting on his bent ankles, he clasped his hands together, raised his face with his eyes closed and began: “O God, we are before Thee.” With that there came a rush of God’s presence that filled the room. We both worshipped in silent ecstasy and wonder and adoration. I’ve never forgotten that moment, and I don’t want to forget it.”

I see all these lives and witness all their worship read all these words, and I am continually struck.

What do they see?

And so — once again — I attempt to shake off my complacency and self-centredness and laziness and reserve and pride and short-sightedness. I hasten my pace to join this worshipping crowd. I will not be disappointed. No, like those already there, I will be amazed.

Then I see Him. As they are consumed, so am I.

This article first appeared on Segment. 

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