Friday, January 28, 2011

Offering My Gift.

Staff training at Camp Tecumseh is really great. It's a wonderful time to connect with old and new friends, to set goals for yourself, and to grow in your own personal faith. I love that the devotions and chapels are tailored to us as counselors just as much are they are good examples as for what to do in your own cabin.

My first summer on staff there was a particular chapel that has stuck with me. Llama led it, and it started off with us just singing all of our traditional favorite chapel songs (Prince of Peace, The Happy Song, Saved By Grace, etc). He then told us a story about Matt Redman's song, "The Heart of Worship." He told us that Redman's church in England had become famous for their music. That the band was so popular, and people would come to hear the music. The congregation would get caught up in singing the 'fun' songs, and wouldn't really pay that much attention to what they're saying.

So they cut all of the instruments, sound equipment, and extra noise out of their service. 

Eventually, the added everything back in and found they had found a deeper meaning in worship. And the song "The Heart of Worship was born."

I love singing, so when I started working at camp, I expected that I would be leading songfests and chapels.

And then I lost my voice. I literally could not sing. This killed me, because I loved singing. And I loved singing all those 'fun' church songs.

Last summer, I lost my voice again while at camp. I started reflecting on how my campers acted during the 'fun' songs at chapel and songfest, and the story of "The Heart of Worship" came flooding into my memory.

Worship is not about us. It's "all about you Jesus."

I then began to reflect on all the times I had served as a cantor at mass and lead worship. I realized that I had not made it about Jesus. I had made it about myself, it was about how good I sounded when singing. So I stopped thinking about leading worship at all because I knew it made me prideful.

This past Sunday, I was sitting next to Lori at mass. As soon as mass was over, she turned to me and asked me why I don't sing because I have a beautiful voice. I kind of laughed it off, and was like yeah, I don't know. She then "voluntold" me that I was going to be helping Ted lead worship at Thursday Vigil Praise. I said no, at first. At our meeting on Wednesday, I explained to her why I didn't want to. I didn't want to become prideful, I didn't want to make it about me.

Lori then reminded me that we all have gifts, and we are all called to use them to glorify God. It is not good for us to hide our lights under a bushel (like in Mark 5:15). She said that it is so good that I am worrying about making it about myself, and if I prayed for God to purify my intentions, he would. So I agreed to help lead. I prayed so hard before and during vigil praise that God would purify my intentions for singing and that he would allow me to worship him while leading.

It was honestly so good to sing again. Afterwards, Amy (a leader for InterVarsity) came up to me and introduced herself and essentially thanked me and told me that she loved my heart and that it was apparent that I loved Jesus. And that he loved me too. It was so good to hear that, because for the first time I was able to worship and connect with God while leading. Prayer works. If God wants to use my gifts in that way, then I will let him. I've been sitting around and saying that I want to follow his plan for me, but hiding things that I am able to do is not following God at all. While in the grand scheme of things, offering to sing at TVP might not be that significant, but for now, I know God wants me to do it. And so I will.

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