She came in just moments before the lights dimmed, just as the band was taking the stage. She sat on the aisle seat and two others who seemed to be friends sat next to her. As the first song began, she stepped out into the aisle and ever so slowly turned all the way around, taking it all in. I was in the seat right behind her, and I watched her curiously as I sang.
She lifted her left hand high in the air, fingers together, pointing toward the screen where her eyes were reading the words her lips were mouthing. A few minutes later, her left arm went down and her right arm went up. One arm was in the air for the entire duration of the worship set.
I've never seen her before, and it didn't seem like she had been there before either. Maybe she's been there for years, just always at a different service from me, I don't know.
What I know is that she worshipped beautifully. I couldn't help but smile as I watched her. In a church where we sometimes forget to clap after a song and we mostly stay politely quiet and hands are rarely raised, I loved her brave audacity to worship proudly. I loved her unapologetic hand in the air, waving as she turned, pointing upward to heaven. I loved the smile on her face as she sang sweet words to the Lord. I loved the extra large print King James Bible with wrinkled pages that she pulled out when Psalms was read aloud between songs, just so she could follow along. I loved the way she nodded along to the pastor as he spoke. I loved watching her worship. I don't know her, and I didn't even get a chance to introduce myself, but I'm grateful for her.
In the middle of my wishing we danced a little more, I'm grateful for the reminder that worship isn't about who's around me or who's watching. I'm grateful for the reminder that the Lord created our hearts for worship-- brave and beautiful and unapologetic worship. I'm grateful for the reminder that our hands are for raising in praise and clasping together in prayer and tracing words on wrinkled Bible pages. I'm grateful for her and for her heart of worship.