Thursday, June 12, 2008
I have to confess that I haven’t really hooked myself into the various God channels on Sky TV. Usually when I am home from school I will tune into one of the Radio channels – the UCB UK channel is one of my favourites. I like the music they play and I try to expand my repertoire of praise and worship songs through listening.
Some friends we met on Sunday were enthusing about the live programmes from Florida with Todd Bently. “Normal” TV doesn’t happen in their house any longer and they talk about “feeling the love” and being “blown away” by the healing that is happening as they watch.
Last night I tuned in. These friends are not the only people I known that are enthusiastic about the programmes, and I supposed I wanted to know what it was that was appealing to them. I watched for less than fifteen minutes. I am not sure why it didn’t appeal, but it just didn’t.
Anyway, seeing as I was in amongst the God channels, I flicked around to see what else was on offer. Lots of the channels featured preachers, usually black, standing behind pulpits. There were a couple of cosy sofa discussion programmes too.
The programme that held my attention though was a worship meeting. It was recorded live at the Victory Church in Oklahoma in the form of a music and dance presentation called “Resonation” – the idea of worship resonating in people’s hearts.
I danced once! At college, our Christian Union, took responsibility for an evening meeting in the local Salvation Army hall. We sang a number of upbeat worship songs, and worked out a couple of dances – twirling things in floaty dresses and artistic poses.
The dance choreography was perhaps a little more adventurous with almost snatches of quite crisp street dance routines. In some ways it could have been any kind of concert – spectacular shifts in the lights, big screens. Then when you started to listen tot the lyrics – you knew this wasn’t just any kind of concert at all, and when the camera spanned the congregation and saw the faces of the people lifted in worship – you knew that they were connecting with God.
It was powerful stuff. It was so professional. The music the lights, the dancing – if you had paid to be there you would not have been disappointed.
That is where I wanted to be – not in Florida with Todd Bently. However, I came to the realisation that I am a poor worship leader in the sense that I don’t have enough musical talent, no matter how much my heart is in tune. I can’t hold notes for that long. I can’t switch into harmonies. I can’t really do the spontaneous stuff. It is not just a case of if I keep practising it will come. I just don’t have the basic talent! I am better than I used to be, and maybe five or ten years down the line I will be better than that – but the bottom line is that I am not gifted musically. Music is not my passion. Worship is my passion, not necessarily worship leading.
Psalm 33:3 has these words “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” There are people that really dismiss the bit that says “play skillfully” and major on singing a new song and shouting with joy, but I saw last night what a huge difference it makes to have someone play skillfully – whether that be the musical instruments or the vocal chords. You can’t dismiss skilful and draw people into a powerful place of worship.
There is almost something kind of liberating in realising just what it is you can’t do! It allows you to move on I suppose. I will never be a great musician and I am happy with that! I will not pack away my worship leading hat, I may not be great, but I am not that bad either. I hope I don’t hinder people on their way to the throne room. I am however going to stop piling the pressure on to try to be gifted in that area when I am not.
I love being drawn into the presence of God by a good worship meeting – a gifted leader, skilful musicians and a well chosen selection of songs. Watching something like that, and then thinking about the kind of worship many churches offer, we need to aim for something more glorious.