February 7, 2016
Praise and worship time is a tricky one for me, as it is for most other worship leaders I know, in that it is a struggle to balance the focus on helping the congregation to enter into worship with the ability to do so myself. Oftentimes, I think worship leaders end up with rare moments of being able to enter into a personal “lostness” in the worship, that are bookended by the more usual times of worry over logistics like finding the right notes/harmonies, how many times to repeat a chorus, or whether the key is a bit too much of a stretch for one’s vocal chords on a given morning. Not that I mind this fact: frankly, I love all that comes into play [;-)] with music, so these logistics are actually enjoyable for me. But at times I do long for that the space and freedom to just be in the moment.
In our service, the pastor chooses the songs that are a part of the service, while the praise team handles the introductory singing time. So one of the hymns we sang this morning as a part of the service, during the offering, was new to me. For much of the song, I was actually zoning out a bit, still thinking about how worship had gone today, and distracted by my amusement over the children surrounded me. But when I looked up and started to sing, I was instantly struck by the words displayed on the screen. There are only a few lines at a time, allowing for two languages to be visible at once, so it was easy to zero in on, and be wowed by, these words:
“Holy Spirit brighten little deeds of toil . . .”
The screen quickly changed after I saw them, and a part of me worried—for a moment—that I had imagined them. I was grateful, then, when the pastor launched into a second round of the hymn. And there they were again: those words. Oh, how beautiful, I thought . . . the words themselves, but also the hope—bright hope—that they carried.
I breathed these words with my inhales and my exhales as the day carried on. In between the business surrounding readying myself, and the household, for another week of the work/school/life crazies, I stole moments to savor this thought.
Yes, Lord: let this be my prayer to you now. Brighten the little deeds of toil that so often threaten to draw my eyes down, and to drag my feet to a shuffle. Brighten my speech. Brighten my thoughts. Brighten my life.
*For dinner tonight we celebrated Chinese New Year in the dorms. So part of prep involved making the traditional dumplings. After writing this post, I realized that this day’s version of the “toil” of meal preparation was a rather fitting illustration :-)