Monday, August 30, 2010

For an Audience of One

I love going to a venue that ended up smaller than expected. Where there are no assigned seats, making it easy to pick one a little more towards the front--you feel as though you are closer to that person on stage who is speaking, or singing. Maybe the attendance was disappointing, but every one who was supposed to be there, came. And it was great. Especially afterwards, when the lines to meet that famous person were so much shorter!

I wonder if this ever happened while Jesus had his traveling ministry. I wonder if people fought their way through the crowds, trying to get as close to him as possible. The woman who had an issue of blood, for 12 years, comes to mind. She knew there was no way for her to get close to Jesus, in plain sight--for she was considered 'unclean'. Yet, just touching the hem of his garment caused power to go out from his presence, healing her instantly. In reality, it was her faith that made her whole. Her belief, confidence, and perseverance that she could have what Jesus talked about. That is was for her, not just every body else.

I try to imagine how it would feel to be famous. People lining up, waiting for autographs, sideways hugs and pictures. Kind of like finding a multitude of friends that you never met. Being told that your latest book or hit song was life changing. I recently met several great musicians and writers. I remember that before we lined up to meet Christy Nockels, my friend next to me remarked at how she felt closer to God, just by watching Christy lead worship. I couldn't agree more. Christy has this presence about her when she is singing. Her eyes closed, head lifted up, sandals off her feet, totally wrapped up in what God is doing, through her. Wow...hearing and seeing that made a huge shift for me on how to view worship. For years, I often felt like I didn't know what to say when people would come up to me, after church, and tell me 'nice job singing' or 'great worship today'. On the inside, I would wonder if it was the christian thing to do to say 'thank you' or should I come up with some kind of reply about how 'it's not about me', blah, blah, blah.

Now I understand that none of the above is necessary. If I am truly focused on God while leading worship, I know that it will not be about me. Just getting lost in the presence of it all, not caring how you appear. That is the moment when you no longer wonder if people are staring at you or if things went well, musically. Sometimes, after what seemed like a difficult run as a music team, people will still comment that they worshiped God and how awesome it was. Just another confirmation that it isn't about any of us, except that we are willing to surrender our talents and abilities to bring people closer to God. And when a person does come up later, with kind words, we know that we succeeded in ushering them in to an encounter with God. Those affirmations are so sweet...and good to hear, from time to time. It's how we build each other up.

I find so much freedom in just living life. Not realizing that you are bringing people around you, closer to Jesus, no matter what they think about him or where they may be at, spiritually. The pure love of God, flowing through you and me will be what moves and shakes the world around us. I'm starting to get excited about meeting people groups that I don't normally interact with. I told Troy that I should go downtown to a certain coffee shop, frequented by more 'free thinking' college students...and see what happens. He looked at me with half a smile and said, 'ok?'. Just think of the stories you might come across, sitting at a retro table with coffee in hand and your heart, open to those around you. Coffee, European style!

I know that I would be changed by that experience. I would be challenged in my beliefs. I probably wouldn't know the answer to most of the why questions about God, but that's ok. I would encounter conflict at a level I have never known before. I can't explain why I would want to do this, but I guess it's in my heart, somewhere. Kind of intimidating, right? But when we play for an audience of One, it doesn't much matter the number of people who are there. All who were meant to be there, came. And it is always awesome that way.