Today at Rock Creek we sang So Will I by Hillsong. I was so excited to help teach this new song to our congregation. I thought like most things unfamiliar the people in the wooden chairs at RCF might approach the song with hesitation. I on the other hand, was going to be bold as I sang the wonderful lyrics hoping others would feel free to do the same with confidence. The first verse went great. The chorus was also great except, I came in six beats before everyone else. I'm not saying I was wrong, but I was definitely the only one singing in that moment. Those of you who have never sung into a microphone in front of a room full of people are thinking "that sounds like the worst!" The rest of you would confirm that to be a correct sentiment. Unfortunately this will happen again as it has happened before (cue flashback to choir tour of 1990's duet with Joe Evans).
In God's sweet providence I had two events that prepped me for this moment. The first happened on Friday as I sat in Covenant College's chapel and listened to Vaneetha Rendall Risner share her story. Be kind to yourself, take some time, and listen here. One does not hear her tale of suffering, comfort and redemption without being forever changed. Her words ringing in my ears allowed my impromptu solo to feel as insignificant as it was in actuality.
The second preparatory lesson happened Saturday morning as I spent time on my back deck reading Jen Wilkin's book "None Like Him" (shout out to Megan Hulse for loaning it to me, your handwritten thoughts on it's pages are my favorite). In the book's first chapter, Wilkin identifies God as one concerned with measurements. Her list of examples includes everything from arks, hairs on heads, grains of sand, length of limbs, circumference of our crania, and our very days. Then she reminds the reader, "all that he measures is perfect in measurement. All that he binds is perfectly boundaried."
Music being one of God's most powerful gifts is unsurprisingly very measured. Beats make up notes, notes fill measures, measures create verses or stanzas. Add a bridge and/or a chorus and you have yourself a song. I was given the timely reminder by Wilkin just hours prior to my unfortunate miscalculation of measurement that being an image-bearer doesn't require perfection. Being an image-bearer "means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God."
Our whole lives as Christ-followers are to be given over to the identification and celebration of the limits God has ordained for us. He lovingly teaches them to us through his Word, through trials, through discipline. He humbles us through these means to remind us that we are not him, nor is anyone or anything else we know.
-Jen Wilkins, None Like HimConsider myself humbled! Later in the song this morning we all sang at the same time, much to my relief, words that had extra meaning after my rough start:
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
So Will I, by Hillsong
Me and Vaneetha before Friday's chapel.
You're gonna want to read her blog, Dance in the Rain.