Favorite says I never blog anymore. I remind him we have offspring to care for and that takes a significant amount of time which pushes my housework and grading to the few hours after said offspring goes to sleep at night. There's little time left for blogging.
But today I'm feeling nostalgic. We recently lost our music minister, and I'm thinking back to the days when the girls and I would lead worship. I grew up a lot in the ten years we shared that responsibility, and I learned even more about God, how He works and our perceptions of how He works.
We weren't openly accepted by all the congregants in our church. It was just the three of us, so we were limited in what we could provide, and I would argue that a piano and three girls can only get so loud, but "too loud" or "not loud enough" were regular comments. We heard a lot about song choices, because apparently the Apostle Paul and John the Baptist really only promote the Gaithers and the Wesley brothers. Anything else was just this side of heresy. People would comment if we closed our eyes, opened our eyes or sang a chorus one too many times no matter who was at the altar. And introducing new stuff? Those Sundays the devil himself must have inhabited our personalities.
But there were people who loved us through that ministry. I learned so much from those people; in fact, I would venture to say those were the people who taught me what it is to serve others and love them openly.
I learned that even though music can be very polarizing, not everyone's response is the same. Some sing along with the music. Some simply sit and listen. Some raise their hands. Others stay in their seats and find themselves in the midst of quiet time with the Lord.
When we first started singing, I thought every quiet mouth was a loss. At the end of those ten years, I realized that responses are as predictable as the weather in southern Illinois. To relegate the worth of music to the responses it begets? It's a narrow response to the reality of worship.
Of course, I showed up every Sunday wholeheartedly believing that there were SPECIFIC songs we HAD to sing. If we failed to pick the right songs that Sunday, the Lord would withhold his Holy Spirit and no one would respond to the Lord's call on their lives.
Sad, isn't it? God will only rain Himself on us if we say the magic words? ("How great is our God? Sing with me...") But it was the mentality I held until I realized He responded to an attitude of worship and the hearts of those who came to meet Him. (Actually, I partially knew that last part when we started the ministry. Why I convinced myself of anything else is beyond explanation.)
Those are the things I miss in my worship pastor--not because they aren't present in the interim, but because I loved his heart for music. He and his wife wholeheartedly devoted themselves to understanding worship, and I loved seeing that devotion play out on Sunday mornings.
Their current hire is a great place for them. I'm sure there will be a lot of growth and they will look back, ten years or more from now, and see all the changes that have taken place over the course of their ministry. But I want them to remember the people who loved them in the middle of the journey.
Those were the people who made such a difference for me.