Have you ever had the experience where you work really hard at something, practice really hard and then at the crucial moment…. it just goes horribly wrong?? Well thankfully the praise service didn’t go horribly wrong, but it didn’t quite go right either.
You see, we were trying out a new song at our monthly praise service, but not just any new song, it was our first original song. Well, half original, we put our own lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. I spent a lot of hours designing a video that told the story laid out in the lyrics that we titled Hallelujah (For the Cross), but we discovered that timing a live performance to a timing-specific video is harder than you’d think! Or than I thought for that matter! After hours of practice at our last practice we got it pretty tight, so I was looking forward to sharing it at the service.
Of course it just didn’t go to plan. A few runs throughs prior to the service only served to heighten my anxiety over the timing, and ultimately when we played it the timing was off in relation to the video so I didn’t think it delivered with the impact that I’d hoped.
To make things worse, with my confidence knocked a few other mistakes in the music felt like a really big deal, and I let the stress get to me.
I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit disheartened, we only have one praise service a month and we work really hard behind the scenes, especially on our performance songs.
What, in my mind, made it worse was that friends that I had invited had come to the praise service, on their first visit to All Saints. I was so caught up in everything being perfect that I forgot one vital thing…
Its all about the message. Every song we sang and led the congregation in worship had a message. Some have a message of repentance, some of joyful praise, some tell a story like our version of Hallelujah.
You see, when we finished and I went to my friends, straight away I wanted to explain that we didn’t normally make so many mistakes, explain that we practice a lot, I was met by my friends mum wiping away tears.
Tears of joy. Of feeling overwhelmed by the love of Christ, delivered to her through the music and praise that I was so quick to devalue because it wasn’t perfect. She felt the peace of God, felt the weight of the world lift from her shoulders during every song. Not just the perfect ones. Every song.
So tonight I got a pretty stark reminder, that when we do something in faith, it doesn’t matter how flawed the delivery is, the message still has power. What I foolishly thought wasn’t good enough was enough to bring someone closer to God. I wrote off the value of our music ministry because not every note was perfect, thankfully Jesus isn’t as pernickety as me, and just as the Father removed the scales from the eyes of Saul when he converted him on the road to Damascus, tonight mine were the eyes that could not see, but thankfully the Lord saw fit to open them up, and remind me of precisely why I love leading people in worship!