I led worship from the piano last week. And it was, in my mind, a disaster. Until I finally realized that it wasn’t.
At our Wednesday night rehearsal, the air conditioning had been turned on in the church, so the sanctuary was a chilly 52 degrees. The stage and mics had been reset for a visiting group. For some utterly unknown reason, the sound system was not working. About twenty minutes into practice, the bass player’s fingers were so cold that he couldn’t keep playing. I was playing piano, and my hands were starting to get there too. If it could have gone wrong on Wednesday night, it did.
After a seriously botched Wednesday night practice, it was a miracle that there were even five cohesive songs pulled together for the service on Sunday. If we managed to get through it without a massive mistake, it was all God.
Sunday morning practice gave me a little bit more hope, because we actually managed to get through all of our songs without any major mishaps. Maybe, I thought, this is going to turn out all right.
And it did, except for one little snafu. During the song right before the sermon, the slides that project the words for the congregation suddenly didn’t line up with the words on my page. I noticed the congregation quit singing, and glanced up at the slides to see if I could figure out what verse they were seeing, and nearly lost my place in the music. The second verse was no better than the first, when two members of our worship team were singing what was on the page, and the other was singing what was on the slides! The third verse was pretty much just myself and the bass player singing, and the fourth verse, some people joined in if they knew the words, but overall, it was a major debacle.
The pastor came up and I left the piano, fighting back tears, escaping out of the back of the sanctuary, embarrassed and ashamed. What had I done wrong? What had happened, and what could I have done to change it? What are these people going to think of me? And will they ever let me lead worship again?
I have no idea what the pastor was speaking on for the first ten minutes of the sermon because I was too occupied with what I thought was such a major screw-up. In fact, there was nothing I could have done about it, nothing I could have done to change it. It’s surprising, someone told me later, that it doesn’t happen more often.
Because guess what? Sometimes we start on the wrong notes, the wrong beat, play a totally wrong chord, or sing the wrong verse. But it’s still worship, and His name is still praised.
God is still good, He is still praised – when the words are wrong and the chords are too. God is still good, and He is still praised – when the sound stops working or the slides are wrong. And worship still happens – in the confusion and the chaos.
What I thought was a total debacle really wasn’t. It was embarrassing, but I’ve survived worse. It was frustrating, but there was nothing I could have done.
His name was still praised, even though things didn’t go the way I wish they would have. And no one fired me or blamed me, though I blamed myself. Worship still happened, even though it wasn’t what I expected.
So if today wasn’t quite what you expected, or if things went terribly wrong yesterday, remember that He is still good, His name is still praised, and He is still faithful – no matter what.
Kristen Entwistle is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. She helps to lead worship at her church on Sunday mornings and leads a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and has seen God work through the ups and downs of life and through her disease. In response to God’s calling, Kristen started All For Him, a ministry seeking to encourage and challenge women of all ages in Christ.
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