Coolio gazed wide-eyed in amazement as worship began.
Actually, Coolio always gazed that way because his likeness adorned a poster up behind the lectern where the pastor addressed the church.
The church I attend meets in a middle school library as do many churches in Northern Virginia.
And for me, with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, of course that can be distracting during praise service.
It’s worse the more I love and know a song that is supposed to be sung as praise to God.
But here is what sometimes happens…
A church elder standing up front says “please stand” and the 25 or so gathered obey.
On a screen off to the right of the lectern, the words to “Shout to the Lord” come up via a powerpoint presentation.
“My Jesus, my Savior
Lord there is none like You”
I sing along and think “yes Jesus. I want to sing this to you.”
“All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love”
“That saved a wretched nut like me,” I think.
“I wonder why my kids aren’t singing louder. Should I encourage them or leave them alone? They seem happy enough.
Now John’s kids – they’re into this. Helping with the projector and standing with their Mom. Course I can’t hear them over here.
“My Comfort, my Shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let ev’ry breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You”
Yes Jesus, I’m trying to worship you. But sometimes it’s hard to stay focused,” my voice says inside my head. “Is just my being here enough to worship or is there more I’m supposed to do?”
“Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and Majesty, praise to the King”
“Yeah, one day even Coolio’s gonna’ bow and say… Course how do I know Coolio’s not a Christian? Who am I to judge? Tony Hawk looks cool over there with his Huck Huck Jam boom or whatever. Wonder if that poster really makes kids want to read?
“Now that book on the bookshelf with the real mummy on the cover – that’s interesting. Bet kids would read that. My son would love it. Give my daughter nightmares though.
“Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name”
“Yeah, I love the mountains but fear roaring seas. I hope the kids get to see the Rockies some day. Is that a reference to Psalm 19?”
“I sing for joy at the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You”
“Promise. Yeah. He’s the promise. Everybody else will pretty much break their promises at some time or another. Maybe not on purpose…
And so my mind wanders as my children move in close on both sides. I’m blessed I stay on key, but I hear this song on CCM radio at least twice a day so…
Then there’s the prayer requests and I’m thinking one day I’ll speak up and mention the community I belong to online and all their hurts and praises. I’ll say that this guy I know that lives… needs prayer for… and they’ll all look at me like I’ve lost it. But now I just squirm, thinking there’s a lot of people needing prayer and we could be here all day if people really open up. Maybe we should. But I’d get pretty hungry and the kids would go nuts.
Oh good, we’re going to sing “Shout to the North”
“Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokenness complete “
“I wonder if that lady knows how beautiful she is without makeup. She hardly wears any and looks so fresh and young. I know God, I’m supposed to be praising you and Jesus. Well, can I praise you for making that lady such a lady and so beautiful? I like the way she smiles at my kids. And she’s not married.
“Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is saviour to all
Lord of Heaven and earth
“Ok, stop Sam. You’re not even divorced yet and you’re thinking about asking her out. She deserves better. And someone close to her age too.”
“Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love?
“Oh this is too ironic.”
Shout… (and I dutifully sing the chorus while trying not to sway back and forth in time to the music).
“We’ve been through fire,
we’ve been through rain
And while I continue to sing, inside my head another song kicks in – “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought I’d see you… one more time again. Thought I’d see you one more time again…”
“We’ve been refined by the
power of Your name
We’ve fallen deeper in love with You
You’ve burned the truth on our lips “
Man, Lord, I need you to burn my lips like Isaiah’s. Wish you could burn my mind too. May the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, my God and my redeemer.
“Rise up church with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By His grace again we’ll fly”
Yeah, “I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea, fly like an eagle let God’s spirit carry me….”
“You know you make me want to SHOUT” a little bit louder now. A little BIT LOUDER NOW. Hey-ay-ay-ay…
Wow, I've lost it God, haven't I?
But that shout chorus would fit you – the one
"Well, you know you make me wanna'
(Shout) Kick my heels up and
(Shout) Throw my hands up and
(Shout) Throw my head back and
(Shout) Come on now
(Shout) Don’t forget to say you will and I add in a deep bass line (Be my Rock…)
(Shout) Don’t forget to say you will … (Be my Rock…)
Forever and ever A-men
(Be my Lord)
Forever and ever A-men
(Be my Rock)
Oh… time for offering.
Kids go to their church now…
Best get out the Bible for the sermon.