From my perch on the stage I see alot of things....I see the sour expressions of couples who are clearly irritated with each other....I see that person who is too stiff to clap, or that lady letting loose with her hands in the air.
It's the reason I tend to close my eyes when I'm singing on-stage. After all, my point in being up there is to help lead others in worship....not to be on display. So when I close my eyes, I can shut down all the distractions that are merely feet away. The adorable babies cooing in the back, the random college aged man who insists on dancing to the fast songs......and also from the emotions.
This past Sunday I almost lost it, as I often do. There really isn't anything MORE emotional than praising the God of the entire Universe! So in the midst of the majesty, the Power and Glory of the Almighty, I often tear up. Now add to that the faces out there, standing and looking over my shoulder at the words on the screen. Those faces, those souls, have SO much going on.....
- There is the man whose wife suffered a stroke and who he visits each day by taking an hour long train ride each way.
- There is the grandmother whose daughter just miscarried, and she can barely stand before her God as she struggles with questions and anger.
- There is the young man who attends this church each week, more faithful than many others, but who struggles with questions of Divinity versus Science. He is not a believer, but a faithful questioner.
- I see the woman who is struggling with a chronic disease, an illness which took her mom at a young age. And now she stands here mere weeks away from starting dialysis to save the kidney function she has left. Her pre-teenaged kids flank her on each side.
Every person out there has a story, a struggle, a heartache. Yes, there IS joy on many of the faces, but it's the other faces that overwhelm me when my defenses are down.
And boy when that happens, my heart races, my palms sweat and my throat constricts. I SOOO don't want to be a distraction if I start crying. That would defeat my purpose in being up there. I'm not alone on stage, but the focus is there....I am alone at the mic.
So I silently pray for those hearts as we sing. I pray against the attacks they are under, against the weights they carry. I pray for this moment to be pure, and purposeful. For them to see Jesus without the distractions which they carried into this room. Regardless of the style of music, or the song we're playing, or the clothes we're wearing. Even those things can detract from our purpose. To bow our hearts:
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down, your cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Draw us near Lord, meet us here........
Yes, Lord, those healing waters are needed, both physically and spiritually.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve here, on this stage, but I'm also overwhelmed at times by my humanity. This weak body that is so quick to poor out tears.........
But tears are not needful right now,
Come now is the time to worship.....
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship.....
Come just as you are before your God......Come
I just want to enter your presence like a child. In awe and wonder of your splendor. Oblivious to the hurting and trials. But stayed by your Strong Arm, Your Righteous Right hand!
And Lord if I can lead two or three into your Presence, without them even seeing me, not even noticing I'm there......like a silent pied piper; then Lord I believe this gift will have been used.
Sometimes I just feel so weak.......it's then that I need you to shore me up....and steady my course.
Then I think.....thank you God that I am Able to FEEL.....
That also is a gift. That each service is a new time to offer to you. To long for your presence for all of those people, and in my own heart as well.
To be like a child, raising pudgy fingers.....arms outstretched, and welcoming a lift.
Fully surrendering my right to walk or run this race, and longing to rest my head on your chest.....to hear the beat of your music Lord. The sounds that echo around your Throne.
Now unto to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.