This morning I helped the praise team at a little church in Norman, OK usher in a new era of singing to the Lord.
I made a new friend in the library my first week of working there and she invited me to church that weekend. I had not been regularly attending anywhere in over six months, and I was glad to receive the invitation, but when I left the service I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back. The folks were friendly and the preaching held the Bible in high regard, even if the style and attitude of the sermon were not what I would seek out in a pastor. The music was played quite well, but was in a sort of sad state. It was just an electric keyboard, and electric drum-set, and a CD playing a track from a live worship album. I think they had been doing it that way for several years.
Word got out that I play the guitar, I jammed with the drummer and keyboard player, and now three weeks later I’m in the band. Today was a big day. They’ve wanted to “go live” (stop playing to a CD) for a long time, and have been praying for the right people to come along. I got a lot of handshakes (and a high-five from the pastor) and people told me I was an answer to prayer. I hope it’s true. I hope I’m really able to serve at this new place, and not just by playing guitar.
I had gotten quite comfortable NOT going to church. I read the Bible (almost) every day, I spend (at least a little) time praying most hours, and I listen to recorded sermons all week long from a variety of podcasts. I sing hymns at my piano, and I write checks every month to ministries I want to support. I mean, that about covers it, right?
I thought so.
But ever since I visited this church three weeks ago, I realized how terribly lonely my entire spiritual life is, and I was thrown into a soul-plumbing fit of searching and questioning and pulling my hair out over what it means to be a part of Christ’s body on Earth. And before I’d come up with any really good answers, I received a text message saying that they’d got the thumbs up to go live and I was needed this Sunday to play.
So here I am to worship, I guess. I enjoy hanging out with the other musicians, and it feels really good to get to play electric guitar again. This morning they asked for people to volunteer with the children’s ministry and I realized that I genuinely want to do that. I wouldn’t have chosen this church as a place to call home, but for now it looks like it has chosen me.
I have a sneaking suspicion that those “really good answers” I was trying to find are probably trying to find me, too.