FOR A FUTURE GENERATION
Sunday I began leading music for a revival at First Baptist Church Woodbury. Pastor Hunter Hay apologized for calendaring issues that led to the revival week beginning on the Sunday of senior graduation recognition and end-of-the-year children’s music program. I told him, “no problem,” and I meant it. I am here to serve and I hope to offer encouragement to choir, leaders, church family, and I pray the Holy Spirit will work among His people to renew and refresh hearts in worship and ministry. Granted, the morning service was packed rather full and we only got to sing one hymn other than the invitation, but the week is young and the Lord is sovereign.
As guest preacher, Gerald Thomas, capably noted Sunday evening, a theme of faithfulness was struck on Sunday in which passing the heritage of faith is paramount. Visited in several ways in sermon, song, and testimony, a striking component for me was the involvement of the children in their presentation of Living in the Light music presentation after using Growing in Grace curriculum for the children’s choir year. Songs clearly rooted in biblical truth, many including direct phrases from scripture verses, demonstrated what takes place in a children’s choir setting over the course of a year, and had potential to show parents and leaders the high value of holding firm to this important ministry. May their tribe increase!
If I might share a personal word of how things came together in my own spiritual worship on last Sunday I want to then draw attention to broader worship applications that I pray might strike a chord in your own setting. Through past days of Music Camps (Camp Carson and Linden) I have connections with people in the Woodbury church as they faithfully involved their children and youth in those opportunities over the years. The children’s choir Sunday was led by volunteer, Terry Brewer, who was leading in the early 1990’s when I first connected to the church. Two of his grown children are now serving, Claire played piano for the children’s group Sunday, and Rhett serves the church as Minister of Music. I saw Adults and children Sunday who recognized me from Kids Choral Connection and Youth Project, and expressed excitement that their choir was leading in worship. A couple of the children who had speaking parts Sunday had also been part of KCC, and now were receiving graduation hymnals, indicating they are moving forward from children’s choir to youth choir next year. These glimpses of days gone by, reflecting on music camps when Claire and Rhett were the size of the children now in the loft at Woodbury Sunday, and remembering ways their talent was discovered and fostered in those settings, all served to stir my spirit of determination to continue providing opportunities so that upcoming generations including my own grandchildren and their grandchildren would know the joy of praising the Lord in song. Hearing familiar scriptures on the lips of these children Sunday reminded me of my own Sunday School teachers and Bible Drill leaders who patiently helped me as a child to learn and grow. I thought of choir leaders who helped me learn songs that let me sing the Bible, and express and practice my commitment to their truths, even before I had any idea that such formation was taking place in my mind and heart. Reflecting on these days brought a thankfulness to my spirit Sunday in worship. Renewing worship brings about remembrance and reflection.
Sunday worship also connected me beyond the immediate physical location as I proudly thought upon friends and fellow musicians, Dora Ann Purdy and Terry Taylor, who serve to bring the Growing in Grace curriculum and music together. I knew that in those same moments that we were worshiping in Woodbury they were in leadership rolls at Forest Hills and Tusculum Hills in Nashville respectfully. Of course, such thinking also led me to ponder all of our worship music leaders across Tennessee and whisper a prayer again for their (your) effectiveness, sense of the Spirit’s power and presence, and confidence in the gifts God has given with which they/you serve. I then had visions of worshiping brothers and sisters in the churches of Rome, Naples, Florence, Arezzo, and Pestoia come to mind followed by consideration of the chapels of Wales, the churches of Rio, and Iowa, and Montana. Sunday worship connects the parts of the body, not only in the singular location, but beyond to worshipers who gather around our state, the world, and those who are gathered in the very presence of Jesus as we all will be one day. Renewing worship expands our horizon beyond the immediate physical location to connect us to the Kingdom whose ultimate end is the worship of our Triune God.
Sometimes calendaring for worship gets crowded, even through what seem to be mistakes or mishaps. Trust in the Lord! He brings together past, present, and future to meet in worship. In worship a future is unveiled “where God’s sovereign will reigns supreme and His love conquers all. In that sense the future is already accomplished. Christ is risen. His wedding feast has begun. There is nothing we or anyone else can do about it.”
 Michael Walters, Can’t Wait for Sunday: Leading Your Congregation in Authentic Worship (Wesleyan Publishing 2006) 214.