I have been on a mission. As a music minister, I subscribe to choral clubs. From the major music publishers. This assures me a demo copy of just about everything published throughout the year. Sounds like a deal? Sure it is. Except published music is a little like rabbits. It just multiplies! And it takes time to go through it and decide what to keep and what to discard. The pile over the past few years has grown substantially in the corner of my office and has been a source of disdain for some time. But I didn’t want to just dump it, because there might be something really great that I would have missed. So I have been on a mission. Eradicate the pile. Sort it out. Listen. Whittle it down. Listen. Discard. Listen. Keep. Play the piano. File away. Listen. Order. You get the idea.
Over the past two weeks I have listened to hours and hours of music. Mountains of music. Just ask my family. I have been holed up in the study each night going through stacks of the stuff. And some of it is really bad. With some of it I just wonder why they print the stuff. With some of it I wonder what it would sound like live. I have felt at times like I’m listening as a judge to auditions of a talent contest. Within the first few measures I’ve already made up my mind. Where’s the gong? Such is the life of a musician listening to samples.
The music industry will tell you they don’t print everything for everyone. I know. I can tell. They believe they are giving a wide variety to reach a wide audience so that they can sell music and make a profit. If their audience was too narrow, their profits would be also. I get it. But really. I’ve thrown boxes of the stuff away. And some of it is really bad. You get the idea, right?
But in the midst of the stacks, I have found some really good stuff. In my opinion. I understand even my opinion is one when it comes to my singers. You all have a mind to yourselves as well. And I have learned in recent weeks that you are just as eager to share, thank you very much. But coming back to the stacks, I have found some really good stuff. And as I have listened, I have been moved several times to the power of the words, the beauty of the music. Last night, after about 6 nights of listening to the stacks of music, with a pile at my feet that will fill a recycler’s bin, I found myself moved by the Spirit in worship. It caught me off guard and surprised me. No longer was it simply a task of my job, but it was worship and praise for what God has done in my life.
It really wasn’t the particular piece of music that made the difference. It wasn’t the notes or the words, because at this point I can’t even tell you which piece of music it was that I was reviewing. It was simply music. Music of adoration. Music of praise. Music that spoke of the greatness of God and the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. It was music that said a hallelujah and an alleluia, and an amen as well. It was music that spoke of the sacrifice of One who gave Himself up for me and it was music that heralded the coming King once again. It was drums and rhythm and quiet strings and no instruments at all. It was a solo and a choir and worship team and another choir. It was everything all rolled into a moment of praise. And I could do nothing but simply pause and stop and say a thank you to my Lord for what He has done for me.
Sometimes worship surprises us. Sometimes we work at it. And sometimes it just happens. But in those moments of true adoration and praise, you know you have been in the presence of the Almighty King and His Son. And you know also know that the Holy Spirit is very present as well.
I pray these moments will come for you. I pray them for our church family. I pray that they will be often and powerful. I pray…