As I sat down in the congregation last Sunday, I noticed the absence of the usual band up front. The only instruments were a piano and a violin. The four vocals held song-books in their hands. Dudley led the worship service, beginning with an apology. We stood to sing.
And what singing it was! The songs were well-known favourites, the people sang with enthusiasm. The sound of singing rose all around. And for the first time in many years one could hear layers of harmony in the singing. The leader connected each song with the next, and his few words invested the lyrics with richer meaning. The vocals were miked. The congregation sang from the screen as usual. Dr George jumped up onto the platform, knelt as he usually does, and led a prayer of intercession that covered many bases, many needs, with thanksgiving. As sermon-time drew near, the song-lyrics themed around Prayer. Then Pastor Jonathan continued his expository series through Paul’s Letter to the Colossian believers, with an emphasis on Prayer. Then he asked us to shuffle our chairs around for a season of group praying.
Later, I asked Dudley how he put together such a meaningful, integrated Worship Service. He chuckled as he told me that God was actively involved, like this: The Music Ministry had met as usual on Thursday evening and practised the programme that Dudley had carefully planned. It hadn’t gone well, and major changes were made. Then on Saturday he learned that there would be Load-Shedding at the time of Sunday’s service. The planned Service Programme depended on electricity. So he scrapped it, and put a new programme together. He called the smaller group for a pre-Service practice, and then waited for the power to go off as anticipated. It didn’t! But he went with Version Three nevertheless.
Worship Unplugged had flowed so well.
Many others came to Dudley afterwards to express their appreciation! And he himself was amazed how God had turned a threatening disaster into a river of blessing.
Our poorly managed Eskom has warned of three load-shedding years ahead. They could have been avoided if they had done proper maintenance, and planned ahead. We have every right to complain, especially since their average employee’s salary is nearly half-a-million per annum. But when God takes the human errors of our para-statal monopoly and transforms them into opportunities for deeper worship, we acknowledge His greatness and thank Him in prayer and song! We are amazed at God’s gracious ways!
May your Christmas Worship ~ with or without Eskom’s assistance ~ be deeply meaningful and highly uplifting!
3c^ EXPRESS YOUR AMAZEMENT
Express your amazement at God’s gracious ways,
the depth of the wisdom His knowledge displays.
His judgments defy analytical scan,
for no one can trace out the paths of His plan.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, give all glory to Him!
Everything has its source and out-working through Him;
The whole of creation will climax in Him,
So give God the glory forever! Amen.
His mind is inscrutable ~ we’ll never know
how God infinite rules creation below!
He needs none to counsel, correct or advise,
for He’s self-sufficient, omnisciently wise.
Our God is almighty, in debt to no-one,
Yet gen’rously gave to us sinners His Son,
and so demonstrated His love in His reign:
We trust His decisions are for our best gain.
Words: Hugh G Wetmore (c) November 2002
based on Romans 11:33-36 and Romans 8:32
Metre: 188.8.131.52 Refrain 184.108.40.206
Tune: To God be the glory CD 5.8