This past weekend, I did special music during the worship service at the church I attend. Most of the time I do special music, I just sing one of my songs. I try to select a song that relates to the scripture lesson for the service or at least the theme for the service. This Sunday, I chose to go with a theme that related to the passages from several recent Sundays and sessions from other programming.
I wore an old pair of jeans, sneakers, my oldest, favorite sweatshirt and a 2014 Elvis Week ball cap. I told everyone that my wife asked me before I left the house, “Why are you dressed like that?!?” I told her that I was going fishing.
I told the congregation that today we were going to become fishers of men. I sang the song Fishers of Men and asked them to join in. I asked to sing loud enough where I could hear them and they did. When the song was completed, I asked them to give themselves a round of applause for doing a great job.
Next I told them that we were going to put our faith in action. Our church has been talking a lot about what we need to do to reach out to our community. We’ve talked about who our neighbors are. We’ve talked about the people in the neighborhood immediately around our church. We have talked about the poor and needy in our community. I said we were really good at fishing off the bank. That we did a pretty good job of reaching out to the people that show up in the lobby of our church. But we needed to cast our nets out to the greater community. I talked about the people we encounter every day at work and in the community that we think we know pretty well and even consider friends. Some of these people may not have a church home. Some may not consider themselves as Christian. Some may see being a Christian as a negative. Maybe our mission field is staring us in the face every day and we are just overlooking it. I talked about how our relationships with people on social media is like our relationships with people at work.
Next I asked anyone with a smart phone to pull it out of their pocket and turn it off vibrate. Next I took a selfie and asked everyone else to take a selfie too. I asked them to post their picture on Facebook. I asked them to check in at our church as they posted these pictures and to tag me in the pictures. I also asked them to take pictures of me and post them with tags for me so I would get alerts on my phone as I sang my second song. I placed my cell phone on the stage and it immediately started going off with alerts. This amused everyone there because my alert tone is the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan yell.
I suggested to everyone that some people are sensitive about their dealings with Christians. Just posting that you are at church can suggest to some people that you are better than them. This is not the message that we want to send. I suggested that they post “If you are reading this, know a broken person at Grace UMC is praying for you.” An admission that I am not perfect and I’m doing something for you. Nearly all of the posts that I saw had some variation of this message.
Then I sang my song, The Belly of the Whale. I had selected this song because it’s about being a fisher of men, but men that you probably don’t like very much. When I started singing this song, there was chaos. The Tarzan yell was constant. Our pastor had asked the children to come down to sit on the front row and they were bouncing up and down. People were taking selfies and texting. I was so distracted, I left a whole verse out of the song.
But we were putting our faith in action. I don’t know if we were successful in reaching anyone, but at least we were trying. It was worth every moment.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller