I recently had the most Holy experience of my life.
Holy, being defined here as an occurrence, occasion, encounter, or time where the Presence of the Lord is expressly tangible. When time itself is suspended, and eternity feels closer to a concept that can be grasped. Where the space between Heaven and Earth is thinnest, nonexistent even.
In the past three years, I have been blessed in the Lord to be involved in many Holy experiences: supernatural encounters with God, miraculous healings, Heavenly transformations, prophetic blessings, glorious revelations, Divine commissions, etc.
Yet, none of these combined quite accounted for this most recent experience. However, one of them did plant a seed for it…
About a year ago now, I was involved in a ceremonial declaration and anointing of my Priesthood. That is, receiving from the Lord, and proclaiming to the seen and unseen the truth that as a Son of God, I am also a Priest in His Kingdom, part of the Royal Priesthood, tending to the things of God and ministering unto Him in a lifestyle of worship.
In that moment, the Spirit of the Lord boomed in my heart, and painted pictures in my mind. The words on my heart were, “Do you SEE what you have to do when you go home?” The movie in my head was my 3 Lady’s – my Bride, and my 2 Daughters – dressed in white, surrounded by candlelight, involved in ceremonial blessing.
In that instant, a seed of Jesus was planted in me – I knew that part of being a Priest of the Lord was imparting that same blessing and authority in my home, to my family – to tend to and empower His Children He has entrusted in partnership to me.
For months I prayed into that seed, and He watered it, and fertilized it. And it grew.
I sensed that all along, there was more than reproducing my own ceremonial blessing for them, but for several months, just what that “more” was, remained unclear.
He watered. He fertilized. It grew.
I then read a book by Jonathan Martin entitled Prototype. The book is terrific, I endorse it and highly recommend it – especially to Christians who have never experienced the wonder of following Jesus, or for whom that child-like wonder has seemingly died.
Jonathan included a chapter in Prototype about “Sacraments.” Admittedly, I approached the subject with a touch of skepticism – as my experience had shaped an opinion that Sacraments in our Christian culture are wildly mis-appropriated, worshipped even – capturing awe and applause and attention in our hearts that Jesus rightly deserves – or are rotely engaged with legalistic check-list mentality. And sadly, I still believe this is true in many instances.
But Jonathan’s words restored wonder in my heart to the Holy Sacraments, unveiling them the way I would like to think Jesus would if we were sitting on a straw mat at His feet. His words spoke life into something I knew to be true, yet rarely saw practiced, but further, longed to…
Properly postured, engaging in the Sacraments are indeed a Holy experience, because they each reveal the Person and Life of Jesus Christ.
As I read this chapter, it was as if I was half digesting the words on the page, and half receiving a major download from Father. He was again booming, and this time was saying, “This is the rest of the movie…”
The seed that had been planted as a ceremonial blessing of Priesthood – had now sprouted from the earth in my spirit, and bloomed into something much bigger, much greater… much Holier.
So, after I treated my girls to a surprise dinner date night at home, I had them sit in our prayer room, where candlelight was dancing on the walls, the aroma of anointing oil filled the air, and a playlist of Holy Spirit inspired music began to sing.
I brought in a piping hot freshly baked loaf of bread, and two goblets of wine. Ok, one was wine, the other grape juice. We spoke of and gave thanks for the gift of Christ’s death on the Cross for us, yes. But more than that, we spoke of and gave thanks for the gift of Christ’s LIFE given to us in Resurrection. We broke bread and we ate. We passed the cup and we drank our fill.
Not only were my girls experiencing Communion for the first time, they were also “getting” at some level Jesus Christ as our True Food and True Drink – that eating and drinking of Him is Life, and It tastes better than any food.
As we sat a few minutes being still together, the Holiness of the moment began to fall on us like a blanket. McKinley, my 7-year-old, asked if she could pray. Then, Delaney, my 5-year-old, as 5-year-olds often do, followed her older sibling’s example and too, asked to pray.
My Bride and I caught each other’s eyes and without words instantly shared in our oneness something like this, “What the?…Holy wow…Thank You Jesus…Yes, Lord, more!”
Next, I knelt before all of my Lady’s, and staring beyond their eyes into their spirits, I washed their feet. Deeper than the comfort and aroma of warm, oil infused water, a calming foot bath, and a lavender lotion massage – emerged the reality that in the Heavenly realm that had collided into our space and time on earth – the physical touch of my hands on their feet and legs was the physical touch of Jesus.
I “felt” what Jesus must have felt as He washed an initially defiant Peter’s feet, and those of the rest of His Disciples. To love and to serve, placing no one above yourself, and entering into the most vulnerable, yet sacred of spaces with another human being.
Delaney giggled and squirmed and made funnies as is Delaney’s nature to do. But then she exclaimed, “Daddy, your eyes are sparkly!” Right at that moment, I did not yet know the gravity of what she “saw.”
In the Book of James (5:14-15) we are given the task and rite to lay hands on one another, anointing them with oil, and praying over them in the name of the Lord. In context, it is a prayer for healing and forgiveness that the Lord promises to honor when prayed in faith.
On this night, it served as a launching pad for prayer of anointing and blessing for my family. A platform from which to speak into the air the Jesus that I see in them, and to prophetically declare His touch and plans in their lives. The Lord had given me in prayer a Scripture of Blessing to read over each of my Lady’s – to anoint over their lives, and to lay hands on them in praying into the receiving of Promises for them.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, And by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, And by Your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.” – Psalms 89:14-18
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8
When I knelt before McKinley, and looked into her eyes, it was not her eyes that I saw staring with explosions of Love back at me. Jesus Himself gazed from within her into my core, and blew me up in His Adoration.
I lost it. Few times in my life have tears flowed so freely, from such depth. There have been times when that kind of release was from brokenness – sweet brokenness that paved the path to redemption. But this was different, more. These were pure tears of Joy and Love. They came from a place in me that is fully Divine, with no trace of humanity. They flowed from a River of Life.
To my side, I could hear Delaney, whom to this point had been entertained and amused, and was having fun – losing it in tears as well. This is not my Delaney. Sure, she cries when she’s hurt or fussing like all kids, but she does not get emotional yet about things bigger than her. And that’s what this was. I heard her tell Marie, “Mommy, I don’t know what’s happening in me, these are just such happy tears!”
Something shifted in her spirit in that instance.
Through my own tears and snot, by Grace, I forged on to my Bride:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Marie then did something I wasn’t anticipating. For a year, every vision I had of this moment was about me, blessing them. But she flipped the script on me, and asked if they could pray for, and bless me.
Bowing on my knees, in front of my Bride, with my two precious daughters on either side of me, their tender hands on my body – I was prayed over and blessed – by all three of them.
Never in my life has Heaven been tasted on my tongue, smelled on my nostrils, and breathed into my lungs as deep and rich as right then.
I don’t remember much of what I heard prayed – but I received it all. I do clearly remember Marie proclaiming that my eyes, they indeed were sparkling because they were not mine, but of Christ.
Finally, I closed with what I initially thought this entire thing would be encompassed by when this seed was pressed into my soil – a Priestly blessing.
But…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Each of my Lady’s were acknowledged, anointed and proclaimed as Priests in the Kingdom of God – making this declaration into eternity:
I am a Priest of the Lord, a citizen of His Holy Kingdom, and His precious, chosen possession. Not because of who I was. Not because of who I will be. But because of who I already am.”
As the echo of our concluding “Amen’s” exited our eardrums, the last track on the music playlist in the background came to an end. Holy Spirit had orchestrated a list of songs whose timing were perfectly synchronized with what He had for us. Amazing.
In the afterglow of this ceremony, I began to dialog with Daddy about just that…ceremony. What is it about ceremony that properly positioned, seems to amp up the intensity and special-ness of something. You know what He said?
He told me, “I am Ceremony. I am ceremonial. Look at the Wedding of which you are the Bride. Look at the Banquet at which you have a seat at the table. Ceremony honors me. When you draw near that intentionally, I draw near that intentionally.”
He’s right. (Of course He is). When Sacraments and Ceremonies are postured to reflect and reveal our Lord into the earth – He is honored, and He, the Ceremony and Master of Ceremonies all in One – draws near in such a way that we feel swept up in it (Him).
Heaven Itself is one, big, everlasting, never-gets-old Ceremony. And for about 40 minutes Heaven invaded a 12 foot by 12 foot room in my home.
My girls have been saying things to me like:
“Daddy, that baptism thing was awesome!”
“Daddy, pleeeeaaaasssseee can we do that again?!”
“Daddy, when can we do that Jesus thing we did that night again?”
And I have been saying to them:
“Every day baby girl. Every day.”