Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Worship in a Variety of Settings

I love the contrast I get to experience in worshiping God through song in various settings.  It keeps me on my toes.  

When I'm on the road with my band we can experience the exuberance of a crowd who has gathered at their annual [insert Unifying Entity] conference and we've been brought in to lead them in worship.  They jump in before the first note and we end up being the ones holding on for dear life as the crowd drags us to the Throne room.  

We lead worship sometimes to a crowd who has gathered for an "Aaron Shust" concert, they probably know most or some of the songs and came to participate in the experience into which I hoped to invite them to join. 

We lead worship on tour with other artists before an audience 66% of which didn't come to hear us, but still find themselves sitting through our set.

We lead worship at festivals with about 20 other artists (always great to catch up) where the stage next to yours is potentially louder than our own and the average temperature seems to be 100. 

We participate in worship at our home churches, where varying atmospheres of worship take place.  Some churches are "worship churches".  They love to sing long and loud.  Some not so much. 

This past Sunday at my small home church outside of Pittsburgh, PA, I took the stage with two of my good friends with whom I've played most consistently in the past 2 years.  Craig Schoeneweis on piano and vocals and Jim Skal on percussion, although he prefers the drums.  Our bass player Alex Grover was on vacation so we opted to not have drums without bass.  ;)   

We introduced Here For You (although I've been playing it while people walk in all summer long to sneak it into their heads) and while I was a bit nervous about the new song and regrettably more unfamiliar with the lyrics than I would have liked, I feel like it really worked: what a great way to start: WE WELCOME YOU WITH PRAISE!

Then we put as much soul as 3 white guys could squeeze into Alvin Slaughter's Holy Holy Holy.  Which I would say is a favorite at Crestmont Alliance.  I spoke for a moment about why we sing to God. I was recently asked, "Doesn't God know who He is?  Why do we keep telling Him over and over?"  I think we do it for two reasons (at least).  One is to remind ourselves of how great He is.  (That comparison between how great He is and how not-great we are makes His grace in our lives that much more beautiful.) The second is because He loves to hear His children sing songs to Him just like I love to hear my kids sing songs to me!  Even if they're silly, incomplete attempts to describe Him.  

We we sang My Savior My God (after a description of silly, incomplete songs, I felt comfortable playing one of my own) and ended the set with Because He Lives, inspired by David Crowder's take on the classic Gaither tune, but with a bit more volume.  Or as much volume as an acoustic guitar, piano and a djembe could create.  

Anyhow, it was one of my favorite worship sets, not many instruments on stage making noise...our insufficient sound system performing insufficiently, no subs, no lights except for all the chandeliers up in the house and our projector on its last leg, God was worshipped by a couple hundred hearty folks from Western PA.  

It sounded beautiful to me, and I think God may have found it beautiful too.