Remember that I was down for leading worship, knowing there were no musical instruments. A couple of years ago, I had had piano lessons for a short time. I wondered whether, with excessive practice, I might manage a tune or two. Yeah right! As if that was ever going to happen! In the end we just opted for singing. There was just the one tune that I pitched too low! It was not bad!
Another lady had been asked to bring the word, but she had not been well during the week, and meeting together on Friday, to plan strategy, we both decided that we would be more relaxed and laid back. The meeting would become a time of sharing, testimony and encouragement. That makes it sound as if all of our Sunday meetings are not like that – but they are.
God had said to me on Sunday morning, as I was preparing my heart, that we had a unique opportunity presented to us. There were no barriers and nothing to hide behind and we could explore for ourselves how we wanted to worship God that morning. We had a special kind of freedom that morning to make the time intimately personal and real and relevant – so we moved in that freedom and shared with one another.
People that are usually quiet took the opportunity to share situations and feelings they were facing. It was amazing how many of us were facing the same kinds of feelings.
The meeting highlighted two areas that I think I need to think about more closely. One was how I worry about silence. I suppose part of it is about how long silences should be. How long is a piece of string? When does silence become uncomfortable? I admit that I have a tendency to step in and fill a silence to prevent it becoming uncomfortable for me! Silence can be as long as it likes when I am alone – but with other people?
The answer to that question is my second area. I recognise that I don’t know people as well as I should. I don’t know people well enough because I don’t spend enough time with them! Outside of formal meetings, I don’t often just “pop over” to visit folk. I am not sure if I want to be in and out of other people’s homes all the time. I don’t think that I should know everything about everyone. I am challenged about how much time I spend in fellowship with folk. The more I know about the issues people are facing the more I am able to pray more effectively for them! Too often we wait for people to take the first step in sharing, or asking for help when we should be on the look out to “see” what help is needed and be swift to offer.
There is a story in the book of Jeremiah, when he is lowered in to a pit of mud because he keeps speaking God’s truth and the leaders don’t want to hear it. A man called Ebed-Melech, whose name means “the servant of the King”, has his ear to the ground, finds out about it and petitions the King to release Jeremiah. We are all servants of the King, with access to Him. How many of us have our ears to the ground, know about the needs of other people and petition the King to help them?