Ponderings from Near the Altar

Fire on the Altar | March 4, 2012

Fifty hours of non-stop worship and intercession. Thousands of participants. It is the reality that prevailed in Austin this weekend. And I was there, even if but for a few brief hours.

I entered a filled sanctuary and found a spot in the back where I could easily sit, stand, kneel, sway, lay – whatever I felt so inclined to do – without disturbing anyone else.

Here is a brief excerpt from my journal from today:

As I sit on the floor against a back wall, what overwhelms me is the simple and beautiful truth that someone like me – like any one of us -  can walk directly into a place like this where the Holy of Holies is manifest here and now.

No longer is this sweet place reserved only for certain individuals who have met certain criteria. The tangible, aromatic, holy presence of the Almighty is here for all of us. I cannot wrap my head around this, yet I know it to be true, as I am experiencing it even in this moment.

There was a time when someone like me could only get so close to His presence, then someone else would have to go in my behalf. Now, because Jesus has already paid my way in, here I am, sitting at His feet, gazing on His beautiful face. Here I sit – overwhelmed.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High  
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Psalm 91:1
What interests me about this is that I wrote this within just a few minutes of entering the sanctuary. The word aromatic came to me very strongly. Hours later, during a spontaneous song, the lyrics that were coming were something like, 
“I am no longer my own
I am Your garden
Enter Your garden, Lord.”
As this was being sung, I began to smell the unmistakable fragrance of roses. At first I thought perhaps someone near me had opened a bottle of rose-scented essential or anointing oil. But as I looked around, I saw that no one was within twenty feet or more of me. I closed my eyes and inhaled. It was undeniable.If a fragrance can be “warm” this one was. It is a word I have often used to describe a physical aroma that sometimes accompanies the presence of God. This time it was the fragrance of roses, appropriately made manifest while we were singing about being His garden. 
I love His presence. Every aspect of it.
More, Lord. More and more and more until …
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