Our latest latest reflection comes from Alex Walker, a Church Leader in Leeds.
I was recently invited to lead worship and preach at a church in Yorkshire. The church in question is a very lively free church who use a local school building and have an eight-member worship band.
I was invited to join the band with my guitar to help lead the hymns and praise songs I had chosen. I was emailed by the band leader who asked what equipment I intended to use so I could be run through the sound system and heard properly.
I don’t have an extravagant “church rig” and the worship leader was distantly underwhelmed by my technical specifications, but when I led the service with my “cheap” rig no one in the congregation noticed I wasn’t using a hand wired, boutique amplifier or a top of the range electric guitar, but they liked what I played.
So, what’s my point? Should we not have nice things? Absolutely not. As the photo shows I have quite a collection of guitars and other stuff. My point is it’s not the amazing organ or guitar amp or top of the range hymnal that makes worship special, it’s the way we connect to God through the notes and transfer that power to our congregations.
At my church in South Leeds our organist died after a short illness last Easter. He was much loved and is greatly missed but the practicalities of worship continue. When I lead there, I try to use as many guitar hymns as I can (I’m far from an organist or pianist), and then the electronic hymnal for the “anthems”. However, the most moving worship times are when we sing acapella, only accompanied by each other.
I like most of my instruments, but they are “of the flesh”, what I give thanks for are those occasions where others find God through them. I pray that as musicians we may continue to remember it’s the Creator God not the nuts and bolts, reeds and strings, pipes or keys that draw people to faith.