The life of a worship leader is full of rehearsals, especially this time of year. Each Christmas season, I give a concert at my hometown coffeehouse, and that event is usually surrounded by at least three Advent or Christmas services. There is much to accomplish in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and even though practicing often seems tedious, I know that there is a purpose to the hours of preparation.
There is an easy parallel to the Advent season here, for the weeks leading up to Christmas on the church calendar are seen as a time of preparation for the coming of the Messiah. We light candles each week to symbolize the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love. All the while, we wait in expectancy for His coming and culmination of a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day worship service.
But as our pastor has been pointing out recently, Advent is more than just a time to recognize the first coming of the baby Jesus. It is also a time to be reminded that He is coming again. We don’t know the time or the hour, but we have to be ready for the day when He will return.
As we entered into prayer proceeding a recent Sunday morning service, our pastor said something striking as he prayed aloud. He prayed that we would consider the upcoming service to be a time of rehearsal for the day when He would come again. That morning, my thoughts were awhirl with nervousness; there was a lot of music to present in the upcoming hour, and needless to say, my heart was not centered in an attitude of prayer. I just wanted everything to go well so our hours in rehearsal would not look like a wasted opportunity.
When it was my time to pray, I spoke with a voice that didn’t seem to want to work for the emotion that was rising to the surface. I mumbled a desperate prayer that went something like this: “God, help me to remember that this morning’s service is about You and for You. Strip away all of my expectations, and may this be an offering to You.”
Although I was distracted with nerves, I meant what I said whole-heartedly. As I walked up to the stage mere moments later, I thought about our rehearsal and time of preparation. We had worked through the music, but we had also communicated with one another about our personal lives. We took time to invest in community with each other, much like what we were going to be doing on that Sunday morning. This time , however, it wasn’t a rehearsal, and now we were joined by a few hundred more individuals, also seeking community and a time of worship.
As our pastor preached that morning, he mentioned this idea of “rehearsal” once more. He made sure we understood that no one can predict the time or hour, so we must be ready at all times for His return. But that doesn’t mean getting stuck in the doctrines or holding to a time frame that is marked by certain tell-tale signs. Instead, we need to continue working, striving forward to make an impact in his Kingdom.
What does it look like to make an impact? Well, it looks very similar to what we had been doing as a worship team in preparation for the morning service. We put forward our best effort, and strived for community with each other. But we also took time to communicate with God. In this time of waiting for His return, we must remember to stay in constant communication and prayer with Him.
And although this world can often be a scary place with so much unrest and danger, we should not be anxious or alarmed. God is in control, and He is coming soon. We may not know the time or hour, but we can rest assured that He knows and will come when all is ready. In the meantime, I will keep singing with my girls and rehearsing for Sunday mornings. I may never be able to strive for musical perfection at those services, but I can view these gatherings as a foretaste, a rehearsal of sorts for the “real deal,” the coming of the King. Oh, what an experience that will be! So until He comes again, I will be working, rehearsing, singing, and worshipping. Oh, Jesus, come soon.
One thought on “Just a Rehearsal”
That comment hit me REALLY HARD too on Sun.!! We are all just rehearsing for the day when he really comes! So get it right with God already! Enjoyed all your selections and THANK YOU for all the “REHEARSING” you do that blesses my heart!! See you Thursday night!