Saturday, January 23, 2016

Where Are You?

Your Role in the Ministry of Presence
On the evening of April 14, 1865, John Parker was assigned the seemingly inconsequential task of guarding the entrance to a private box at the local theater. Although a veteran officer with the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, Parker left his post that night and visited a nearby tavern. With the door left unguarded, John Wilkes Booth entered the Presidential Box at Ford’s Theater and fired a single shot into the head of President Abraham Lincoln, immediately altering the course of American history.

As the winds from Hurricane Isabel swept across Arlington National Cemetery on September 18, 2003, Sergeant First Class Fredrick Geary, and other members of “The Old Guard” assigned to stand watch over the Tomb of the Unknowns, faced a dilemma: would they remain at their assigned post in the onslaught of the storm or seek shelter until the danger subsided?
In their case commitment trumped convenience. During that storm-filled Thursday night, surrounded by lightning strikes and falling trees, Geary and his fellow guards never faltered. Soaked to the bone in the driving rain, they would continue their renowned 24-hour a day, back-and-forth march of 21 steps in honor of their fallen comrades within the tomb.  Steve Vogel of the Washington Post captured the spirit of the sentinels when he stated, “It reminded all that their lone walk before a marble sarcophagus was not merely a job, but a calling and honor not to be easily cast aside or abandoned for momentary convenience.”

These events remind us that being faithful to our calling and showing up, even when it’s not convenient, make a difference! This is especially true in our role as worship leaders. As musicians gifted and called by God, we are given the responsibility to lead our church family in worship each week. In fact, we see in 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 our role is to lead the church into spiritual battle:
 “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
    ‘Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.’
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

We are called to lead the charge. Unfortunately, often our commitment level more closely resembles that of John Parker than the vigilant soldiers of “The Old Guard.” Too often we are simply “derelict of duty.” Satan’s an old pro at convincing us we “aren’t needed.” He does this by filling us with thoughts like, “I’m too busy” or “No one will miss me.” The Deceiver does this for a reason: when worship is weakened the church is rendered ineffective.

We are in a war. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:8). So the question becomes, “In the middle of the battle where are you?”

I am reminded of what Larry Black calls the “ministry of presence.” This simply means viewing your role in the choir as a calling and:
  • Showing up…when you would rather sit in the congregation;
  • Showing up…when you don’t feel 100%;
  • Showing up…when you don’t like the choir anthem;
  • Showing up…when things are great;
  • Showing up…when things are tough;
  • Showing up…when you agree with what’s happening; and,
  • Showing up…when you don’t.

The God of the Universe has placed a powerful calling on each of us in the worship ministry: to lead His church into battle each week. Simply showing up can make all the difference, in this world and the next, for someone in our services this Sunday!

 So…where are you?

Pursuing the Call!


1 comment: