Karen Abeyta

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Transcendent Worship

I scroll to distract from thighs that wail
as I pedal—struggling to sustain 100 watts.
Tethered to tedium—rake, hammer, hoe—
I seek solace from the static scenery
of my garage. Then I spy
100 churches singing a blessing over New York City
so I click, hoping that this five-borough band
will escort me into fullness of joy.

The contralto’s sotto voce, lush like an inky Merlot,
melts over me like chocolate ganache,
entreating empyreal benediction.
Goosebumps bud, eyes seep salty, effort evanesces,
as workout becomes worship of the One
who created these voices to praise Him.
And suddenly I dwell with the One who indwells me
as sweat drips, tresses stick, breath exalted breathes.

Like Solomon’s palanquin, my interior
is inlaid with love for this choir of nations.
Presbyterians and Pentecostals with voices raised,
Albanian, Korean, Greek, proffering praise
Image-bearers hailing from Brooklyn to the Bronx,
singing from stairwells and rainy rooftops,
the vernal and venerable, famed and unnamed,
joined like dovetail joint.

This apparition of adoration
has me longing for the day
when all worshipers, in unity,
will magnify His name.
And I’m hoping for a deluxe vocal upgrade
when God fashions my imperishable tent, ‘cause
on earth I wasn’t dealt it, but in heaven I want to belt it
like Aretha when I sing his praise.

And as their anthem ends, I linger—
But the burn returns as the fly wheel churns
wafting Limburger meets Lazarus
(three days gone).
But I feign anosmia and (feeling glorious)
declare victorious that I am the aroma of Christ!

Marble-eyed and deaf to praise—or anything
other than the can opener liberating dinner—
he totters to my side. Four legs, ancient of days,
nails clickety-clackety on the tile floor.
Wired-hair coat fading tan to white,
he grins with breath of death
before unleashing a lake of sunshine on the floor.
And basking in the afterglow of transcendent worship,
I count it all joy.

“Transcendent Worship,” read by Karen Abeyta.

Karen lives in Vermont with her husband and (sporadically) her two kids who attend college. A true theology-geek, she enjoys helping people understand the Bible. Her work has been published in Fathom Magazine, Heartstrong Faith, Sacred Stories Ministries, Saturday SOULfood (Living by Design Ministries), and Just Between Us (Summer 2022).

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Photo Credit: “New York City USA – 42nd Street 03” by Daniel Mennerich, Flickr.com.

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