(The seeds for this post were planted by my Pastor, Dr. Chuck Wilson)
Otis Moss is one of the great African American preachers of our day. An article he has written concerning worship says, in part, “I love the act of worship. I view worship as an interconnected holistic activity committed to engaging the divine.” This “whole-earth” activity is about as engaged/engaging as one can be; the act of worship is an organic experience and it is inextricably linked to who we are as individuals, and as a community. Mr Moss goes on to tell about one of the old saints in his church, and if you have ever worshiped in the black church, you will immediately visualize the scene:
“One morning an elder in our congregation was worshiping with reckless abandon. It was as if she was possessed and made drunk by a multitude of joyous and reverent angels as she shouted and cried and talked back to the preacher. When I spoke to her later, she was delighted and stunned me when she said ‘I grab hold of worship so hard because it may be the last time!'”
So Moss asks, “What if we alwa ys worshiped, sang, prayed, read, hugged, laughed and meditated as if it were the last time?”
What if we relished each sunrise as if it were the last one we would see? What if we hugged our kids as if it were the last time? What if we relished every opportunity for worship as if it were the last time? I recognize that in some ways, you could take this notion too far. I mean, considering the exuberance I feel that most of us would consciously put into our last time at anything, then living that way could and would be completely exhausting! At the same time, it is a valuable use of our soul-time to consider how we would accomplish our last praise, worship, hug, kiss, laugh, cry – our last anything – if we indeed knew it was our last time?
I believe the old saint in Moss’s church was in touch with a way to approach all of life, as well as worship…simply cherishing the moment, as if it were the last time. Take a few moments and just ponder. Among the things you consciously do for the last time – what would be different? Why would it be different? Does thinking about this maybe change the way you will approach your life today? Even for a little while? Every moment of our lives is a glorious opportunity. When preparing this post I was forced to realize how much of my life I relegate to the routine. How often do I hug my husband, children, and granddaughter and not pause to consider if it might be for the last time? This is not a morbid way to live or think, but actually a very positive way of life. Many years ago, Hubs and I were privileged to hear a Chief of the Algonquin Nation speak at a church conference gathering we attended. He said something that continues to resonate with me. “We of all creatures are most blessed, because we know we are going to die.”
It’s a true blessing to know that, except for the Love of God, everything changes, everything passes away. Knowing we are going to die, and knowing that we all have a finite amount of time to show love, frees us to make the last time, every time, better than the first.
What if we worshiped, sang, and laughed as if it were the last time? Because there will come a time… when it will be.
Is knowing this enough?