Fathom Mag

Published on:
January 15, 2019
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2 min.
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Where Dust Gathers

Maybe we want depth instead of smoke machines.
Rachel Joy Welcher

After walking the city for hours, we wander into a cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. The pews make my tailbone ache, but I sit still, soaking up the reverence with which the priest reads the Psalm. I stand when I see others stand. I sit when they sit. I bow my head when they begin to pray, and though I am unfamiliar with such formality, I am thankful. As voices from the choir echo throughout the chapel, singing about God’s holiness, I am struck by this attribute. That God is set apart. Pure. Above all things. Higher than the stunning ceilings above me. 

We do not need ornate buildings or beautiful choir voices to pray. But my generation longs for some portion of symbolism and liturgy – for the sacred that has been replaced by logos and coffee shops. Maybe we just want the chance to kneel occasionally in church, so that the posture of our bodies matches the posture of our hearts. Maybe we want depth instead of smoke machines. Maybe we want to learn how to pray.

I sit at my kitchen table, reading a chapter in Genesis, then a chapter in Luke. I record my thoughts in a leather-bound journal with sections for thanksgiving, adoration, confession, and supplication. It directs my thoughts but does not confine them. I write outside the lines, create extra boxes, and scatter my stream-of-consciousness prayers throughout. Then I return to the order: thanking God for who He is before moving on to my requests, and spending time in repentance and adoration.  

Those who recite the same prayers every Sunday might long to dance in worship, or exchange incense for dry ice. We desire to worship God in truth, and sometimes changing the scenery helps clear the dust from our eyes. After all, dust can settle on both guitar amps and hymnals, on drum-sets and stained glass. 

I am too self-conscious to kneel in church when everyone else is standing. Instead, I lift my hands at my kitchen table, holding empty palms heavenward – a gesture of faith – telling God what He already knows: that my life is His. That I am open to whatever He has for me. That I am scared but will lift my hands a little higher.

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine. She earned a Master’s degree in theology from the The University of St. Andrews, taught high school English for ten years, is a published poet (Blue Tarp, Finishing Line Press), and writes for magazines such as Cordella, RELEVANT, and The Gospel Coalition. She lives with her husband Evan, who is a pastor in Glenwood, Iowa.

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