Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - In The Shadow Of The Cross - By Gerald Flemming

Today's blog is a guest post by my husband and Infinitely More partner, 
Gerald Flemming.

By Gerald Flemming

Recently I had a very humbling and conflicting experience.  I was asked to play music for the wedding of two really good friends of ours.  They wanted twenty minutes of pre-service music and then a few pieces in the service itself.  They wanted specific hymns and they wanted all of it to be instrumental.  Whew…okay.

As anybody who plays guitar knows, note-perfect fingerstyle guitar arrangements of songs take quite a while to either put together yourself or to learn.  I decided to do signature arrangements because I felt it would be more personal as this was to be mine and Allison’s gift to them.  It ended up being between 10-12 original guitar arrangements of hymns and it took about 30-40 hours to construct and play competently.  It was a real investment in time when other things were pulling on me to do simultaneously, but again, we do and should make these sacrifices for each other as friends and as Christians.

The day came and with it, an extreme amount of weather that threw everything into a bit of disarray.  A couple of lovely young singers were late and had to rehearse while the congregation was sitting there waiting for things to begin.  I started about fifteen minutes late which was fine, but by this point everybody was excited/agitated and wasn’t really in the mood to listen to twenty minutes of instrumental guitar music.  So everyone talked and got reacquainted waiting for the main show to begin.

At this point I just martialled through, smiling and playing, trying to be aware of the script and the timing of how everything was to play out.  It reminded me of some of my time as a secular musician in a bar competing with a million different agendas, the last of which was listening.  The ceremony was beautiful and both of our friends (who are going into the ministry together), had a wonderful bonding experience, with the Groom’s mother being the person who married them.

On the way to the reception, I felt a little tweak.  I thought to myself that what had happened hadn’t been very ‘artistically’ satisfying.  It would have been easy for me to just improvise and play a bunch of different pieces of music off the top of my head as background music before the festivities were to begin.  I felt weirdly silly for having gone to all of the trouble that I did.  And then in response to that I felt guilty for feeling that way, because it was a gift and there shouldn’t be any expectations about how a gift is received.

Two days later Allison showed me a photo she had taken.  It was me working, just before the service.  Those last bits of prep, trying to make something as good as I could possibly make it.  And I’m standing there in the shadow of the cross, just another servant, wanting desperately to do good work.

Who was the music really for?  It was for the One who sacrificed everything for us.  
The One who, without promise of glory or praise, died and was risen to save us all. 

Sometimes we have these brief bouts of ego.  These petty needs to be bigger than our gifts.  It makes us human.  It reminds us how broken we are, and the work that we still need to do.  I was being reminded of something.  Something I actually strive to remind myself of.  That it’s about the service.  

How can I better serve here, in the shadow of the cross?  

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

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