Thursday, April 1, 2010

A word at tonight's practice

Easter is coming this weekend. Tonight, we met for band practice. Our band leader, Sarah G., came in and donned her acoustic guitar. She and I talked for a second and joked about tangle-proof guitar cables (they all tangle, regardless). Soon, everybody joined us on stage. As she typically does, she gave a little word before we launched into a short prayer like we always do before we actually start playing. She said, "Guys. This weekend is Easter. Keep in mind there is nothing we can do to actually top the resurrection story." I don't think she set out to make a profound statement, but she did all the same. She went on to talk for a second and clarify why we were doing what we were doing (a mark of a good leader), but somehow that short statement said it all.

There is a lot of weight and application in such a short 'one-liner' statement like that. First off, what Jesus did at Calvary is what defines our faith. Jesus literally took our sins upon Himself, died in our place (due to the sin that separates us from God), and as many writers both in and outside of the bible testified to, He rose again. This showed him to be the savior (the messiah) that was prophesized in scriptures centuries before. No other faith makes such a claim. His offering was done so we could live in freedom, and in standing with God. By merely believing in Him and following Him, we have the promise of hope where before there was none. That is grace. The Easter story, then, is a love story. The ultimate love story. As the bible says:

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Romans 5:6-9, NIV)

There is a powerful message there. A reminder of what was done for us. Grace, pure and simple. But to the believer (who often struggles with performance issues or perfectionistic tendencies or even trying to be 'good enough' in spite of grace), Sarah's simple words were a reminder to me that: 1) we cannot top God, and 2) we don't have to try to top God. God is God. Period. High above us. This thought frees up a lot of performance anxiety and worry (or over-analyzing, in my case) that goes along with any stage performance. God is perfect. Period. End of story. We are there merely to point people to that beautiful picture and kinda just stay out of the way so He can work His wonders in the lives of His people. Such an awesome concept. Very liberating.

This is also something to focus on weekly, especially for the worship team. God is perfect. We are a creation that have been extended something we could not achieve on our own. That means we are less than perfect. So God is perfect, and we aren't. Period. If any realization should thwart those perfectionistic tendencies, this particular one should. A few years ago, we all did a group discussion from the book 'Heart of the Artist', and we discussed perfectionism versus striving for excellence (ie. striving for our best while being realistic about it all). Sarah's words tonight kind of three-dimensionalized what we discussed in the book.

Every once in a while, Sarah will pop out with a very memorable statement. The last one was 'Outside of God, there is nothing.' I have hung onto that one as well. (It has often served to be a good reminder to me at different places in my life. And besides, I tend to hang onto quotes and philosophies if they're good.) Tonight's statement made the list as well. But I just wanted to jot this down. It's late, so I will turn in. Looking forward to our Easter services. In the meantime, good night and God bless!

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