Sunday, 29 October 2006

Amazing grace of God this afternoon.

I've frequently been frustrated about my lack of singing ability. At school I had a strong dislike of communal singing - even got slippered for not singing in class by an 'old boy' who must have fought in WWI because I'm sure Mr. Saunders was too old to have fought in WWII.

I first 'discovered' my lack of singing ability at the age of 17. I'd always asumed that although my voice was a little *unreliable* it would work more-or-less OK given a chance. On stage in front of an audience with nothing but an acoustic guitar wasn't the ideal place to find out, but the message did arrive quite clearly.

And so, in my adult life I've been the one playing guitar, hanging in the background, just stepping forward occasionaly to solo, then drifting to the back again. Then came the need to lead worship in church.

The first time I was nervous. Nervous is a good work: I wasn't terrified in bowel loosening fashion as happens to some people, but I certainly wasn't comfy either. In order to make it work I 'borrowed' the services of some good friends to stand next to me and sing for/with/instead of me. Maureen and Helen did really well, generally coping with my lack of signals and following the guitar nicely. I had the mic on and attempted to follow the tune, but I was really a guitarist, and would frequently find that I'd just skipped a couple of lines to concentrate on getting the guitar part right.

After 3 or 4 sessions like this I realised that I was starting to hear myself through the PA, and the majority of the time it was reasonably in tune. This was a big surprise, as I'd always been the proverbially awful singer. However the voice wasn't realiable, and certainly wasn't up to starting proceedings of in the right key every time, and this is how it remains to this day.

Today I was leading worship again, with the church the fullest I've seen it in quite a while. I had some extra musical help this time, with Clive keyboarding, Ben (Clive's son) on Electric guitar and Jackie + Helen (the same one) covering vocals. For the first time I can remember I was quite relaxed out front and was quite happy to focus on mostly singing. God had given me some things clearly to say and a pattern to follow, so I said them and then went for it. Also for the first time I was disappointed when we stopped (usually I'm glancing at the meeting leader to see when we can break after 30 mins). I'm still a little high, like I've just finished a gig more than 3 hours after we stopped. I was soaked in sweat after we finished playing and absolutely loving it.

What's the point of this post title?

There's often a bunch of teenagers hanging around the hall we meet in, and for some reason, when we had opened up and set up they all wandered in before the meeting. Some of them seemed really touched by the whole meeting. Mark W stood up and was 'interviewed' by Steve B about how he got saved off the local drugs scene. Julie C talked about what God had done in her life when she was so ill recently. Although the younger ones were in and a fair bit, the older lads stayed all the way through including the preach, even hanging around afterward to talk to Steve and Mark and his wife Hermione. They all said they wanted to come back next week too.

I've a feeling a lot of this was for their benefit, and I've been allowed to enjoy the overspill.

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