Music in worship was great - the choir was great and the congregational singing was great. It was not Andy’s fault that he was singing while I was trying to impart a good word. It was awesome, actually. During the 11:00 AM worship service Andy sang a song written by Phil Wickham that he chose especially for All Saints Sunday, a new song literally just released seven weeks ago. As Andy sang the words of a song about hope, to all of us who had just heard the names of men and women we knew and loved to mark their passing this year, it was all coming together. The chorus says:
There is hope beyond the suffering,
joy beyond the tears, peace in every tragedy
and love that conquers fear. For I have found redemption
in the blood of Jesus Christ.
My body might be tired but I’ll always be alive.
(Phil Wickham, When My Heart s Torn Asunder, 2013)On Sunday, as we stood sharing the everyday elements that Jesus himself consecrated with divine meaning, I told people, “God loves you.” As the music played, the reality sank in that in order to be heard I would need to say it louder. “God loves you.” Even before we finished passing out the grace-filled pieces of bread, then dipped into the cup that represents a new covenant with the Creator of the Universe, my eyes had been opened to what was happening.
We live in a noisy world. We have a message to deliver. Our mandate is to offer it to every person. We are called to speak into the lives of others, “God loves you.” It was out of love that Jesus took the form of a servant and emptied himself, even to the point of death at the hands of his executioners.
I read the names of our honored dead on Sunday only by steeling myself from the emotions I felt welling up when I started. I knew these people. These are more than names. These were friends, mentors, and loved ones. It was altogether right to name them as saints, because they are. Not because of their own efforts, but because of the efforts of the One who makes things holy.
I pray that I would boldly speak the good news to every person I meet with whatever volume is required for it to be heard, and not just on Sunday mornings. “God loves you.” I pray you would do the same.
Grace and Peace, Scott