It is the night before Easter. Easter Eve?
My family is all asleep and I am up running around like a crazy woman packing for church and the after-church. Both require many specific items like hair bows, t-ball gear, change of clothes and back up food options for the picky eaters of the family.
I also had to close myself in my car for a bit to listen to my iPod. I am singing a great song for church tomorrow. It is beautiful, the lyrics are powerful and the direction of the song requires me to summon up all the air I can pull into my lungs for one really big long note. I have the rest of the song down. It's that one note that is threatening to keep me awake all night.
When I sing-especially for church-I really really want it to be perfect. The main reason for this is because when you have a well structured service, one brought together with elements that blend together perfectly with enough room for the Spirit to move but structured so that it shows its purpose, one really botched song can throw that off. So I work hard-especially on the solos.
But as I was singing and NOT holding that note like I should, I realized something:
Whether or not I can hold this note for the full 10 counts, JESUS STILL ROSE FROM THE DEAD. If I mess up tomorrow, if my asthma kicks in and I find that I am lucky to be able to sing even one quarter note: JESUS IS STILL ALIVE! If I get to church and breeze through rehearsal and forget the words during the service: JESUS DEFIED DEATH!
Tomorrow's service has been prayerfully assembled. Each seat in our Worship Center will hold a soul that God hopes to make a personal connection with on Sunday morning. I am His vessel for carrying that message no matter what my physical body can handle.
When I was first singing in church as a high schooler, I sang a song by Crystal Lewis. I had a new dress to wear, my hair was done the way I liked and when it was my turn in the service, I got up and sang. It was perfect. I got to the musical break where I had selected some scripture to be read while the track played in the background. I began to read, it was awesome! I got to one part and lost my place. It was like the words of the page just FELL OFF and were heading out the door to beat the Methodists to all the good lunch places! The scripture was telling about the miracle Jesus performed on the man who was lowered through the roof to get close to Jesus. As I read and tried to catch myself up, I remember I said, "the guy" instead of "the man." THE GUY? Why not "the dude" or "that one" or just grunting and squealing like a pig instead of saying "the guy?" I. was. mortified.
I finished the song, survived the rest of the service and I cried the whole way home. Later that week, I got a card in the mail from a dear friend's mom. She told me how much she loved my song on Sunday. How God touched her through the words I sang and thanked me for sharing. Look at that! God still can work powerfully in our lives even when our human-ness attempts to get in the way of the message!
I am thankful tonight that it wasn't my job to get Jesus out of the grave. Because if you know me, you know I sometimes flake out on things. I will forget, be late or show up on the wrong day. And if that had happened, well, our end would not be a happy one. Jesus didn't need us to raise Him. Yes, our sin put Him there. But it was by His choice. And it is because He is perfect that He rose again.
Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, when I prepare to sing, I am going to remember that God doesn't need my perfection to make the Easter Sunday at Vista Grande Community Church the Most Powerful Church Service of All Time Known To Man! He needs my obedience to sing the song I am meant to sing. He needs me to offer Him my "first fruits" and deliver the very best performance I humanly can. He needs me to reflect Him with my words and praise.
And that is something I will NOT be late for.
Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come.
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything
And I will adore you.
-Revelation Song by Jennie Lee Riddle
sung by Kari Jobe (And me!)