As I mentioned a few days ago, Gerald and I were handling all the music today at St. John's. We decided to get to the church as early as we could so we could have a nice relaxing start to the service. As we were doing our sound check, I thought, "Isn't it funny that no one is setting up the screen?" Well, tech issues were in the air. The slides (which thankfully, I didn't have to prepare) were not working. The slides cover all the songs and all the prayers.
In moments like this, I'm so thankful that Gerald and I have a lot of theatre and improv experience - craziness just doesn't throw us. Instead of using the opening songs as a sing-along, we invited people to use them as songs of reflection. Our opening hymn wasn't in our current hymnal, so we made a last second switch to "Seek Ye First". We haven't done that song for at least a year, but it had the chords in the hymnal, so it was an easy choice. The offertory, "Amazing Love," was a trickier piece as it's also not in the hymnal. So, I fed the lyrics to the congregation, line by line. I invited those who know it to sing loud and help us lead, and wonderfully, it worked!
Communion became songs of reflection, and thankfully our last song, "How Great Thou Art," was in the hymnal. The response from the congregation was very positive, to both the music and our leadership. I think people respond well in an "we're all in this together" atmosphere.
This evening, we had Monika join us for the Gathering service. We opened with "Holy is the Lord," "Open the Eyes of my Heart," and "Worthy is the Lamb" (Hillsong). It was so beautiful to have Moni's harmonies with us! It always amazes me how we can choose songs, the clergy chooses the sermon, and God somehow ties it all together. By the time we closed with "They'll Know We are Christians by Our Love," we had all been blessed by a message of relationship and transformation.
I like the evening service. It's casual and challenging, and people always bring good treats to snack on!