Friday, October 14, 2011

14th October

I actually feel quite happy now. And that’s a rare event. The sun came out as I started my journey home and I was tempted to stay for one final walk but decided to face up to the journey and coming back to an empty house… not really that empty as it’s filled with memories. Anyway it was no problem whatsoever, I almost feel buoyant, which is a bit weird, and I even started thinking seriously about starting to decorate. That was good as I’ve ignored it for the past two difficult years and several rooms desperately need some tlc. I so much enjoy the room my kids remodelled for me in the week after Jane died and I would love to change the whole house in similar vein if I could… especially the lounge where Jane died. I have to move on and changing my environment helps leave difficult memories behind. I can’t imagine dealing with Jane’s wardrobe yet but her art-work is another story and I’ll probably rehang some of my rooms very soon. She’s left me a small mountain of paintings and drawings to choose from and I’m thinking even some of her sketch books have artwork suitable for framing.

But the real pleasure of the day was picking up my newer guitar; it’s in a completely different class from the one I take camping and so much easier to play. And I got completely lost in worship as I played, despite the pain in my fingers… I’ve not been playing nearly enough over the past month and the pads need to harden again. Naughty boy… God gave me this gift and I’ve been neglecting it! But I can’t just play for playing’s sake, I need to be inspired. So whilst I love playing the blues and enjoy the related traditional folk music my heart is really in worship. And therein rests the challenge as most contemporary worship nowadays lies in the soft-rock genre which I find rather predictable and sometimes a little bland although it works really well for congregational singing, and skilled wordcraft lifts the most mediocre of arrangements anyway.  I bought my latest guitar about ten years ago and after a year or so I had to put it away due to lack of inspiration. I didn’t play any instrument for 12 months, until I was asked to help at a child dedication and then a funeral and then a marriage re-dedication and then there were a whole series of guest services to support… and the inspiration was back.

Ok, what am I trying to say then… at the heart of worship, or rather at the heart of the whole of our life we should find God. And where God is, there we find inspiration and fulfilment and so much more. But sometimes we have to let go of our personal aspirations as they can become a barrier to meeting with the Lord. He is not remotely concerned about our style of worship, be it Low-Church, High-Church, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Evangelical or whatever. No, it’s the heart of a man or woman that reaches out to him in worship that will connect with the throne room of heaven. I personally have had the most powerful God encounter in many different formats of meeting… in the contemporary worship style of my local church, amongst a 13,000 congregation in a stadium, a very traditional pipe organ led midnight communion on Christmas Eve, listening to a brass band in a city street, choral singing on TV and even an orchestral recital. There’s something special about how music can open our hearts to help us meet with God. One very interesting God encounter I enjoyed was when I turned our worship team into a 60’s rock band with a gospel message part way through… the anointing of the presence of God on ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ was eye-opening! God doesn’t ‘need’ our music to be played in any particular way – he’s got plenty of angels to command surrounding his throne for that – he wants our hearts to be open to his love, that’s what he looks for in our worship.

Anyway, today I was all on my own, playing my guitar (Hillsongs soft-rock – ‘He can move the mountain’) and singing to the Lord when heaven joined in with me. And I ask for nothing more out of life at the moment. I’m happy.

1 Samuel 16:7 ‘The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (NLT)

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