A long time ago in a far-away land, let’s just leave the specifics hanging, I led a worship team that was pretty “good.” We had some true musical talent on the team and since I am not referencing myself, I think it is OK to say so. We had a variety of instruments and some decent voices and we actually did this olden-days things called “harmonizing.” Now I am just being sarcastic. ;)
Anyway, we had a friend “in the pews” who couldn’t carry a tune to save her life, but oh my goodness, she was a worshipper, not just in church, but with her life. But during the musical worship on Sunday mornings, she unabashedly enjoyed herself – singing away like nobody’s business, smiling, clapping her hands, raising them – however her heart could find to show God the joy she felt because of how He rescued her.
Everyone loved her. Her enthusiasm and joy were contagious.
One Sunday evening I asked her if she would read a scripture passage as a call to worship and then she could just move to the side and back of the stage for the abbreviated worship time (before super-powers-evangelist would come and speak). She was thrilled to help.
I’m getting there, hold on…
The next day, we got “called in” about having an older, single woman, a heavy-set older, single woman on stage as part of the team. The visiting speaker felt she didn’t belong in front of people, and was sure we were going to deal a death blow to the church growth program if we weren’t more careful about who got on stage. He said I looked good. Gee, thanks. He said Dave looked good. He critiqued a few of our other people (our bass player needed to trim his beard closer), but said that whether we liked it or not, it would hinder the church and the growth if the people up front didn’t look a certain way – that we needed to be polished.
Flabbergasted, I said something about her heart – that as far as I could see, she’d done nothing unseemly, but probably actually contained some of her usual vibrancy as she stood waaaaaaaay off to the side and waaaaaaay back of the stage. I said we’d invited her because she drew people in to celebration.
He said he was sure she had a good heart, but that in the future I should only invite people who “looked successful,” who “looked right” to be up there with us.
He also said that we were sure lucky to be part of the staff and that if we ever left that church (could he see behind my eyes in that moment, could he see the wheels spinning?), God would be finished with us and would never use us again. Coupled with a sermon he’d preached about a church member who kept “coming against” him and who subsequently died in a car accident (the implication being that if you “come against the man of God,” and I think I may actually be quoting him here, there’ll be death to pay), we weren’t long for that place.
True story. Not sardonic, though or the least bit amusing. But hold on- I have a FUN video coming!!!
I will say this about that ridiculous and not uncommon-enough situation: God looks at the heart and our friend’s contribution to that service was received and God was welcomed and she didn’t have to weigh 110 and have glitter in her hair and be wearing a worship-team-color-coordinated outfit, which was all-too common back in the days of which I write.
Sad, though, how the more things change, the more they stay the same. We just traded church-lady-clothed teams too heavy on the vocals for Cool. Capital intended.
Now for some lighthearted fun: the video…
We laugh because it’s funny. We squirm because it’s a little bit true. We thought we were different, but it turns out we’re just contemporvant.
But all in good fun. Hey, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?
And note to the super-powers-evangelist who spoke the curse over me: if you think that stupid toupee is fooling anyone…