New Community was really intense last night. Helena (the Australian with the amazing voice) was supposed to lead worship but then Tuesday night, after rehearsal, she went into premature labor and Wednesday morning they did an emergency c-section. The twins were born very tiny, I think they both weigh about a pound. (If you can, remember them in your prayers.) So as the service opened Bill gravely explained what had happened and asked the congregation for some grace because worship was going to be a thrown-together deal.
Then Greg got up and, fortunately, didn't try to just change the subject. He talked about visiting Helena and the babies in the hospital, and seeing them behind the glass wall being attended to by doctors and nurses, attached to all sorts of machines. That was it for me, the faucets opened and I pretty much sniffled through the rest of worship. When something like this happens all your illusions of self-sufficiency get stripped away, and you realize that we really must rely on God for everything.
I think we did a couple of Chris Tomlin songs and Holy, Holy, Holy and I don't remember what else...but it doesn't really matter what songs...what made our time together remarkable was the reminder that we can rehearse until our fingers blister or our voices crack, but if people don't enter into worship stripped down of their pretenses and earnestly seeking God, then it is just a show.
Yeah, yeah, I know that 's no giant revelation, but you don't always see it demonstrated the way we did last night.
The message was intense too! Bill was talking about evangelism, which always seems to put him on another plane of existence. He never gets tired of talking about it and we never get tired of hearing him talk about it. There was laughter, spontaneous applause, collective gasps and tears, one man couldn't contain himself and shouted encouragement from the mezzanine - and all this in response to one graying, very conservatively dressed man standing directly behind a podium talking about something we've heard him talk about 1,000,000 times.
After the service we sat down in the front row to check out y'all's blogs on Steph's laptop and wait for Mark to finish tear-down. It was weird, sitting in the front row always puts me in mind of my stage managing days at Impact, but everytime I cast my gaze up from the laptop to the stage, I'd experience a little jolt at how stinkin' big the thing is. It goes back for a mile, up for a mile, and the people walking around it look like dolls. I never thought I'd describe the lakeside auditorium as intimate, but compared to this stage, it's stage is like a cozy corner booth!
The cavernous black hole to the left is the stage! Thanks to www.crossroadsblog.com for the picture.
Strangely though, from the stage looking out, the new auditorium feels much closer than the lakeside. Kudos to the architects I guess.