Unplugged Worship and Praise

I’m leading a concert this afternoon.

But you can’t hear it.

There’s a praise team at the front of the platform, passionate singers, two to my left, two to my right. The rhythm section is compact and very precise.  “Tight” they’d say, “Comes from working together a lot.”

Too bad you can’t hear them.

The choir is 50, maybe 60 voices, and it’s all they can do sometimes to hold back, and save a bit of energy for what we  know is coming next.  The orchestra’s equally skilled; brass that can evoke goosebumps, strings able to draw you forward in your seat, winds and percussion that knit it all together.

Oh, I wish you could hear this!

We’re singing  and playing new songs. Old familiar songs.
Energetic tunes.  Comforting phrases.
Full orchestra sometimes, just one instrument at others.

We  just finished a song we sang in church today:

Every day I’ll follow after You…

and Rich Mullins familiar “Sometimes by Step” —

Step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow You all of my days.

The pianist echoed the last phrase, and the organist (he looks a lot like Don Hustad, don’t you think?) just drew everything to pianissimo.

How I wish you could hear this  concert in my head –

One voice begins.  It’s soft, but too intense for anyone to feel they can join in quite yet.

Teach me Thy way, O Lord, Teach me Thy way;
Thy gracious aid afford, Teach me Thy way.
Help me to walk aright; More by faith, less by sight;
Lead me with heav’nly light, Teach me Thy way.

The piano joins,  and the strings.
“Join in,”  I say.

When doubts and fears arise, Teach me Thy way;
When storms o’erspread the skies, Teach me Thy way.
Shine through the cloud and rain, Through sorrow, toil, and pain;
Make Thou my pathway plain, Teach me Thy way.

The brass and winds are waiting for their cue. Can you feel the fervor of these words building?  The shutters up above swivel open – those massive, low organ pipes are ready.  Sing out!

Long as my life shall last, Teach me Thy way;
Where’er my lot be cast, Teach me Thy way.
Until the race is run, Until the journey’s done,
Until the crown is won, Teach me Thy way!

It’s goosebump time when we finish!  God simply MUST be smiling,
His children love Him.  At the very moment the reverberation begins to die out,  The praise-singers and I recap everything with an unaccompanied reprise:

I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in your ways
(we know these words- we sang them just a bit ago!)
Step by step You’ll lead me,
And I will follow You, all of my days.

I really wish you could hear some of these Sunday afternoon concerts I hear in my head.

This is Unplugged Worship and Praise in the truest sense of the word.
It’s just one heart. Mine.
There’s but one in the audience. God.

But it’s worship.
Worship on a personal level.

Maybe someday I’ll have the chance to let you share what I hear. Maybe someday you’ll help me bring everything to life with real voices, real instruments.

If not,  I’ll smile over at you when we break into song in Heaven and motion that I have goosebumps too.


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