I'm exhausted. It's always interesting to think you know the meaning of a word until you inhabit it, until you see how much further into the thing you can go.
I accidentally walked into a church service in a hip coffee shop on Sunday. I say that like I wandered onto a mine field. That's how I mean it. I was instantly exhausted then, back when I thought I knew the meaning of the word.
I was instantly exhausted, instantly uncomfortable, instantly bothered. I have my reasons. I've been against this type of twee Christian self-love-fest gathering for a long time now. I wasn't always. But as my picture of God grew, so did my unrest with coffeehouse worship. Not because you can't worship wherever you want, but because so often it's a celebration of how different your edgy church is.
Places like this talk a lot about "magnifying the Lord." This urge to "magnify God," as if God isn't already Being itself, fits right in with urban reclaimed stained-wood tables holding lattes made from single-origin beans nestled inside of home-kilned mugs. It's predictable, and not in a good way. It's person-magnification. It's a shallow aesthetic meant to replace the work of worship. For me, what I walked in on was not worship. Not of God, anyway. People clapped at the end; that's how you know you're doing church wrong.
So I went to sit outside, where I felt God was more likely to be. I've had that sense of God for as long as I can remember. God as wild, and untamed, and damn-well magnified enough already. I sat outside, and I let all the pain and exhaustion of my current world rest on top of my rejection of some self-congratulating thing which seemed about as far from the Divine life as anything else I could think of. And I cried a little, and I thought of Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese." And I knew God was there, in the poem and in my remembering it. And I was okay.