Despite last night's sniffing and sneezing, we were still up at 6 am for praise team this morning. Luckily, the weather was pleasant, so that kind of made things easier.
We had a great team this morning, with me on vocals, Gerald on guitar, Jenna on keys, Roy on bass, Jeff on percussion, and Betty on organ. Jenna had chosen some great songs, with a healthy mix of classic, triumphant hymns and beautiful, gentle praise songs.
The team gelled quickly, with vocal harmonies and good chemistry. You could tell there was something wonderful going on in the rehearsal. The first service (which, on a rough morning, feels like dress rehearsal) was fantastic. The music flowed, the sermon was great, and the energy in the church was very moving.
But in the second service, we shifted gears. I was starting to feel the effects of my lack of sleep, so I said, "God, you've got to take control of this for me." I guess everyone else said the same thing, because when we hit Communion, you could feel the electricity in the air.
Our first Communion song was Darlene Zschech's "Worthy is the Lamb". People started singing right away, and a few people closed their eyes and raised their hands. But by the time we got to Michael W. Smith's "Agnus Dei", the Spirit was really moving. People started to stand, and raise their hands, and worship with abandon. By the end of the song, almost everyone in the church was on their feet. From our position in the front of the sanctuary, I could see everyone - their beautiful faces, their absolute love. It was so incredibly beautiful! I had to close my eyes to keep from crying. It was just so overwhelming. I tried to keep eye contact with Jenna so I could follow her cues, but it was so hard to look at anyone without crying. I eventually closed my eyes and thought, "God, if Jenna needs me to do something, please let me know." I could feel her direction, and the whole song ended beautifully, seamlessly.
The last hymn was joyful and vibrant. We all lingered and chatted long after the service. My headache had returned from last night, which was the only thing that drove me to go home. In the car, Gerald and I talked in hushed tones about what we had just experienced. It was humbling, and just so incredibly beautiful. I'm sure I'm babbling, because I know my words can't accurately describe what I saw or felt this morning. All I hope is that you'll experience it some time soon...
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!
(Psalm 66:2 NIV)