August 3, 2011
As a child I spent two years at a boarding school in the Amazon jungles of Brazil. Rain was pretty much a daily occurrence during the rainy season and still a weekly occurrence in the dry season. It was never really dry. When there wasn’t the threat of lightening, we would play soccer in the pouring rain until the fields flooded, then it became more like rugby, hands permitted, tackling, slipping and sliding all over the place. After we were thoroughly worn out and satisfied with our play we would jump in the Amazon River to rinse off and go back to the dorms to listen to the loud pelting of rain on our tin roof. The fishing was best during a good rainstorm, so that was another option. Pity the downpours that happened when we were prisoners inside the four walls of our classroom! I never knew of a cold rain until I moved to California when I was ten. I also never missed the color green more.
Needless to say, I was quite surprised and almost giddy with excitement with our tropical storm on Sunday. I drove to church in the early morning downpour preparing to lead worship, thanking God for this sweet blessing. I sensed that our worship service likewise was going to hold unexpected blessings that morning. I was reminded of songs that speak of the rain of his presence, his grace like rain, and the glory of the Lord raining down on us as we worship him. I was reminded that I, like so many others, come to the worship service longing for an experience of the Lord’s presence that is familiar and yet at the same time fresh and new. That’s what this rainstorm was to me that morning. And so was the worship service. Because it was a 5th Sunday, I had a paired down band, trying to focus on the beauty and simplicity of the accompaniment to our praises. Blessed by the last minute addition of Ed Pithey on saxophone (soprano and tenor), we were in for quite a treat. We went back to some oldies but goodies, Keith Green’s, Oh Lord You’re Beautiful took us to a place where we didn’t want to move, ending with a time of silence in reverence and awe. We ended our service with Lord Have Mercy. I sang from my heart as never before, convicted with a new sense of fear of the Lord by a tremendous sermon by Gary Inrig, The Lost Generation. Another highlight for me was a new song, Your Great Name. I was introduced to Natalie Grant’s version of this song by a church member and became an immediate fan of her entire album, Love Revolution.
When I think of where the target is for leading worship each week at Trinity Church, this hit the bullseye: spotlight clearly on our triune God, music that was simple yet beautiful, unity amongst the body that was felt, the glory of the Lord experienced in every element, and my soul was engaged more than ever, not thinking much about the details of what I was supposed to be doing.
I love to be surprised by God when he shows up in an unexpected way, speaking words that cut right to my heart, bringing conviction that causes repentance and renewal, washing whiter than snow, or stirring my heart emotionally, even to the point of tears, causing a surge of faith and freedom that comes from embracing a profound truth. Oh, Heavenly Father please do your work among us at Trinity Church every time that we gather to worship! Show us your glory! May it always be for the glory of Your Great Name and the edification and growth of your Church.