I was trying to leave Robinson’s mall. I couldn’t reach the door cos I was surrounded by hundreds of screaming teenagers. No, it wasn’t a dream, and sadly they weren’t screaming for me but for JC de Vera, a clearly popular celebrity who had just appeared on the specially-constructed stage in the middle of the shopping centre. As I make my way through the crowd, I see him pick a beautiful girl to join him on stage. He looks wistfully into her eyes while mouthing the words to the Goo Goo Dolls backing track:
“All I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life..
“I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am”
The girl is beside herself. Her face is inches away from his as she shyly returns his gaze. But don’t worry for her commercially-abused innocence. Her heart may have stopped but she hasn’t forgotten about facebook. She wastes no time getting her ipad out for an on-stage selfie. The fake sincerity is entirely mutual.
The somewhat less than star-cross’d lovers and the words of the song made me remember what had happened to me just a few days before. I was lying on my bed just worshipping with my headphones in. I was waiting on God, asking Him to come, directing my prayers to that place somewhere just above my head, you know, where God is. All of a sudden I felt Him say, “I’m already here”. And then I felt myself realise that while I was talking to the top bunk, the “voice” was from inside me. Right after that I felt wave after wave of God’s love flow through me, and after a little while I was completely blown away. The intensity of the moment made every other ‘worship time’ feel like a rehearsal. I had read that day about how in Jewish culture, when a couple get engaged to be married, the groom goes back to his father’s place to build a house for him and his wife, and he leaves his most trusted friend (his ‘best man’) to prepare his fiancee and keep her pure. The Bible describes the Church as the bride of Christ. Jesus, the groom, has gone away to ‘prepare a place’ for us. The Holy Spirit is like the best man. So I was lying there feeling like I wasn’t just with the Holy Spirit, but with Jesus Himself. It’s as if the Holy Spirit is our teacher, teaching us to dance, but what we experience with Him is ‘dance class’. He is our mentor and friend, but He is just preparing us for the big day, when we get to dance with Jesus. On Monday night I felt like I was dancing with Jesus.
Anyway, I needed to get up to switch on the rice cooker, cos I was cooking for one of the students who had arrived early back at the college. After I’d done that I went to find him and he was with Glenn, one of the carpenters on the site here and also a pastor. I was feeling pretty wasted, smiling like I was high on something. I put my arms round them both telling them how great they are and then I said “Hey, who needs healing? Someone is gonna get healed right now, come on”. Glenn said he has a bad knee, so I put my hands on it, said something spiritual and bosh, he’s healed right there.
It’s a simple testimony of what happens when we have intimacy with Jesus. Heaven comes to earth, for us and those around us.
Back in the crowded mall, I’m comparing that moment of intimacy with what I’m seeing. No-one is being fooled about the authenticity of the romance here – it’s all just a bit of fun to lighten up the weekend. But the brief show reflects what everyone watching the stage dreams of – a Cinderella moment with the king. Please God, can we bring a real moment of romance to Robinson’s mall?