Today has been long, but really, really great.
This morning, I returned to St. John's West Toronto to sing and lead the music. Since I'd been there before, I was a little less nervous than last time. But, of course, I was trying a few new things, so that sort of made up for any lost nervousness.
My main job was to lead the singing, so I really tried to keep that as my focus when I was preparing. I was fine with all the hymns they suggested - Here I am Lord, The Summons, Seek ye first - but the Sanctus didn't have chords, and it was a little beyond my scope to figure them out. So, I wrote a new one. (Oh, the Sanctus is that "holy, holy, holy" part of the communion liturgy.) I can never figure out how congregations sing along on the Sanctus. Most of them are pretty complicated and, in my humble opinion, quite uninteresting. I wrote one that was very singable with a little swing. I'd say it sounds a little Celtic (big shock). I played it in the prelude, and again early in the service. It was really new to people, but they still sang along, so that was cool.
The message today was about stewardship, so for my solo piece, I chose "Lord, when you came to the seashore". I learned this song years ago for a World Day of Prayer service, and I thought it would be a perfect fit. I'd lost the music, so I thought I'd maybe google it. Ends up it's a really popular piece in the Catholic church. It was even sung at some Papal event. It's originally written in Spanish, so I did the chorus in Spanish and the verses in English. I was a little nervous at this part of the service - solo singing, chorus in another language, still nervous on guitar - but God was definitely on my side. I thought, "I can mess up the words, the chords, and the tune. But the important thing is to tell this message". Sounds silly to say out loud, but it worked. The words, the chord, and the tune fell into place, and people really got the message.
But here was the best moment of them all. During communion, I started to sing "He Touched Me". (Such a great song!!!) A few people started to sing along. So I took a second to tell them where to find the words, and then started the piece over again. Well, then, everyone started to sing. And not just sing, but sing to God. Something powerful was moving in the room, and it had nothing to do with me. The spirit of the Lord came into the sanctuary, and it was awesome!
At the end of the service, they asked for a few upbeat songs to send everyone out on a high note, so I did "Standing in the need of prayer", "Down by the riverside", and "Down on my knees". Before leaving, I was asked back for a service in the spring. Yay!
This morning was yet another reminder that this is truly what I want to be doing. I am no longer satisfied to simply sing beautiful songs. I want to be a vessel that God can use to His purpose. I want to offer people something greater than just a song well sung. I want to tell them this great message of peace ... hope ... love.
This afternoon was a complete switch. Today, I participated in my first bridal shower. I really didn't want one, so I kept calling it the anti-shower. (Hello, have you met my Auntie Shower?) It was really pretty cool. I got to wear a tiara and eat chocolate-dipped strawberries, so no complaints there.
And, of course, I also got to sit on a comfy chair and open presents. I was a little worried about walking home with an armload of blenders and tea towels, but God bless my Mom. It was a wine shower! Everyone brought me a bottle of their favourite wine. Practical and decadent in one shot!
I predict that the next three weeks will be pretty full. Between developing a new career path and finalizing the details of the wedding, every day counts. But I'm looking forward to it. I'm definitely a happier person when I'm working towards a goal, and these days of full of great goals!