Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his Temple!
Praise him in heaven, his strong fortress!
2 Praise him for the great things he does!
Praise him for all his greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpets and horns!
Praise him with harps and lyres!
4 Praise him with tambourines and dancing!
Praise him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5 Praise him with loud cymbals!
Praise him with crashing cymbals! – Psalm 150
Tuesday turned out to be kind of serendipity day for me. I’m backed up with a lot of work, and my thoughts and writings have been swirling around the sadness of the Orlando shootings, so when circumstances required that I walk away from the computer and pick up my guitar, the timing could not have been better.
First, I met with my friend Kirby to practice a song we will be doing together in worship this summer. Then, I had been asked to share special music and help lead singing at the commitment service for our new Stephen Ministers at WFPC.
Between preparation, practice, and actually playing, I probably logged two to three hours of guitar therapy during the day. I use the term “guitar therapy” because it really is a kind of balm; playing the guitar calms my spirit – especially the songs I worked with yesterday.
RICKY SKAGGS: The piece I’ll be doing with Kirby (July 10 at WFPC, both services) is “Somebody’s Praying” by Ricky Skaggs. Somebody’s praying; I can feel it. Somebody’s praying for me. Mighty hands are guiding me, to protect me from what I can’t see. Lord I believe; Lord I believe. Somebody’s praying for me…
The song is a powerful anthem of affirmation, and goes on to talk about how the knowledge that someone else is praying – specifically for us – can be a critical factor when it comes to dealing with the challenges we all face.
Then I prepared for the Stephen Ministry service of commitment and thanksgiving. Stephen Ministers are church members who feel called to come alongside others who are experiencing grief, overwhelm, recovery, pain, doubt, fear… and any number of challenges that could benefit from the presence of a trained (hours and weeks and months of training – then ongoing supervision), loving, caring, brother or sister in Christ.
We sang “Change my heart, O God.” You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me – this is what I pray… And also “This little light of mine.” This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine; Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine; Out in the dark, I’m going to let it shine…
My “special music” was the classic Carol King tune (made famous by James Taylor) “You’ve got a friend.” My only adjustment to the words was the last repeat of the chorus: Just call out God’s name, and you know whatever your pain, he’ll come running to heal you again. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you’ve got to do is call; and he’ll be there – yeah, yeah, yeah – you’ve got a friend. You’ve got a friend. God is your friend…
SERENDIPITY: So yesterday I felt that God was specifically with me in and through the music. I love my guitars, and I’m a fairly decent instrumentalist; but what’s really remarkable is the way that God speaks to me – gently and insistently – in such creative ways.
But that is our Creator’s way, gentle and insistent, patiently attuned to our spirits, ready to touch us when we begin to pay attention, so generous with grace and love.