Psalm 47:1-2 , 5-6(New International Version)
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
2 How awesome is the LORD Most High
the great King over all the earth!
5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
Twice a month I'm part of a worship team at our church; once as the team leader, and the other time I sing on the team while Susan leads. I love leading worship.
We have a digital baby grand piano, played skillfully by pastor Dave's wife Esther. If we're lucky, and he's not teaching Sunday School, Jonathan is on the platform with his violin, adding its soulful voice to the mix. Richard does an amazing job on the drums, Jessica and Lorne play guitar and sing, and Frances and Susan both add their awesome voices and passion for worship. Me? I just love being part of it and following God's lead to lead others to worship.
The view from the platform is something else; the panorama of our small, but growing, country church, a modest crowd of just over a hundred or so.
The main demographic is young families with children and teens, but there are lots of people who don't fit into that category--just to spice things up!
About a year ago, I had an email from a colleague in my field; disabilities. I work for a Christian agency, and he wanted to know if I could recommend any "welcoming churches" in the area for some people he knew who were looking; "welcoming" being code for "being open to people who may sound different, or act differently."
What could I do but tell him about my own church? And I mentioned another one, of another denomination, in nearby Alliston, that I knew to be "welcoming," too.
I looked out for new people who looked like they were "looking." I hoped that when they arrived we wouldn't let them down and that we would be as welcoming as I had said we would be.
The people came, and stayed, and became part of "us." Each week three young men arrive with their two support staff and stay just for the 45 minutes or so of worship. I don't think Pastor Dave should take it personally that they leave each week just before the sermon, but they do love the music, and it's them I love to watch most of all; one in particular and his staff.
He listens to the music mostly with his eyes downcast. He is a tall and handsome young man, with short fair hair. He stands with arms held close to his sides and hands clasped in front. As the music plays, he sways to the music and rocks from one foot to the other, almost imperceptably. It is obvious that he is enjoying the music and the experience of worship. His support worker, a young woman who looks to be in her twenties, is amazing to watch. She wears her brown hair simply tied back from her pretty face in a style reminiscent of a ballerina. He seems somewhat unaware of her presence, but with everything in her she is engaged with him. Her eyes do not leave his face, and she smiles at him, swaying with him in a dance that says, "I am with you in this moment. I am enjoying it with you." I've never seen anyone do a more delightful job of supporting someone else, or with more joy. I feel like if ever I need support, I want someone like her supporting me.
I don't know her name, but I look forward to watching them from the platform when I lead, because I see in her, something I would like to be; forgetful of self. She is there in the moment for him, the person she is working for and with; with all her heart.
We are followers of One who laid his life down for us, the ultimate in selflessness. So my challenge is to be like my "dancing friend," but really like Jesus, forgetful of self, delighting in those around me and ready to serve them so much better than I do. It's not about me.
Psalm 51:10 (New International Version)
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.