Whenever I'm worshipping God with the homeless congregation at Church Under the Bridge downtown, I'm struck by a few things.
I'm struck by the lack of body odor. For 150-some people who live on the streets in a hot July in San Antonio, they don't smell bad.
I'm struck by the respectfulness of nearly everyone present, whether they're there to genuinely worship or just going through the motions to get a meal.
And I'm struck by how loud the music is. Usually, I just suspect the mics and background tape are just turned up an extra notch beyond where I would set them (plus there's a little more shouting than singing going on). But last night, it wasn't the sound system. During the bridge of "Manifesto", the mics were turned off and only the voices of the people were heard singing through the words of the Lord's Prayer.
"Singing", I should say. Chanting, really. OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN HALLOWED BE THY NAME THY KING-DOM COME THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN . . .
No discernable pitch. Much discernable emotion. Imagine an exclamation point after each word and a fist pump after each syllable. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAI-LY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FOR-GIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US . . .
And if you know the song, you know how it builds in intensity: . . . AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EV-IL FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM POWER AND THE GLORY FOR-EEEVERRR!!!!
People with no job, no money, no place to sleep tonight, standing with their arms raised, shout-singing their prayer to God: AAAA-MEN!!!!!!!
The musicality is horrid. The spirituality is glorious. And again, I am shamed. I need my homeless friends to teach me what worship is.