You should all know by now that words are the way to my heart. I write them, I read them, I hear them; they spark my creativity and open my mind and heart to the world around me. So it might come as some surprise to you when I admit one of my greatest weaknesses; I struggle with internalizing the words that I come in contact with most often. What I am trying to say is that the very Words I should be holding near and dear to my heart are often locked up within the pages of the Bible.
When I was young, I attended a Christian school, and each week we were required to memorize a portion of Scripture; sometimes it would only be a few verses, while other times it would be a whole chapter. I found myself memorizing the verses on Thursday evening, reciting them for the teacher Friday morning, and then when the weekend came around, the Scripture slowly faded from my short-term memory bank. I found I really wasn’t internalizing what I quickly memorized just to maintain a good grade.
Now that I have completed my degree and moved forward into formal ministry, I find the same is true. I read selected passages of Scripture during my morning quite times, but otherwise, I don’t often seek the Scriptures unless I have a specific reason in mind. This reality has been gnawing at me quite a bit lately when I consider my lack of time spent in the Word. I often wonder if I should seek more, know more, memorize more— if only to be a better Minister of Music and Worship. I never seem to measure up in this category.
What shames me is that I can quickly recall the poetic lines of a hymn or worship song, and when it comes to The Sound of Music, I can practically recite the script line-by-line. I can even launch into the silly “Fifty Nifty United States” song from fourth grade music class and effortlessly chant out the names of the fifty states of theUnion in alphabetical order. But ask me to recall the very Words of Life from Scripture and I fumble. Sometimes, I can conjure up a quick reference; “Oh, that’s John 3:16,” I might say or “there’s a verse in Romans that talks about not being conformed to the pattern of this world.” But it all sounds hollow to me.
I have been motivated to dig deeper in the Word lately as I have been challenged by those I encounter on a daily basis. Before a service recently, one of the band members was searching through her Bible in order to find a verse to go along with the songs we were going to play that morning. “I think it might be in Matthew,” I told her when she asked if I knew the verse she was talking about. She then mumbled something about asking the pastor where to find it, and the pastor overheard her. “Cassie should be able to help you with that,” he said. “But I think you’re talking about Matthew chapter 2.” Now, before you start to think that the pastor’s words were a negative reflection on my lack of Biblical knowledge, I think he was merely encouraging me, making sure I knew that I was on the right track. But I took his comment as a challenge.
It motivated me to study more, read with greater intention, and actually internalize what God is saying to me in the pages of His Word. Now, I know I’ll never be the perfect or ideal worship leader, and I will never have all of the answers, but there’s nothing wrong with seeking to grow and internalize His Word. Whether it be directly memorizing a passage and being able to recite it or simply being more attentive to where the passages line up in the course of the Bible as a whole, I want to seek to make a greater heart commitment. In the end, it will benefit me personally and those I minister alongside every day.