At our Ash Wednesday service, I led a Men’s Choir (10 guys, singing 4 part harmony) to a beautiful arrangement of Rory Noland’s song, “Humbly I Come” (if you’re interested in getting this song you can get it on iTunes – it is amazing).
The journey leading up to the service was humbling, especially for me. We had three 30 minute rehearsals to get this song down. By the third rehearsal, it seemed obvious to me that we weren’t going to be able to pull this off – I was a bit ambitious in my expectations of our abilities. The guys could sing the parts one at a time, but when we put it together it kept falling apart.
When I told the guys that we weren’t going to do the song, I could tell they were very disappointed. An awful lot of work went into this. But as the director, I had to make this hard call. Then one of our members said, “I think we can do it. I believe God wants us to do it.”
Now I was really in a quandary. Who am I to question when someone senses that God wants us to do it? And I highly respect this person’s close walk with the Lord.
So I lifted up a quick three word prayer: “Help, God, now!” (my favorite three word prayer)
Then it popped in my mind. I told the men, “Let’s try it one more time. I’m going to add a little bit more of the track in the mix. But I don’t want us to think of this song as a performance, but as a prayer.” So we prayed the song:
Humbly I come to seek Your face, hear Your voice, pour out my heart.
Humbly I come to bear my soul. Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.
Mend me and make me whole.
And something clicked. Something started jelling. The guys sang the song like never before. I was encouraged. We decided to do it.
It went well amazing during the Ash Wednesday service! We were singing to God, but more importantly, He sang through us. The congregation was blessed, not with a “performance,” but with a prayer that set the stage of receiving the Ashen Cross with humble hearts.
People kept coming up to me saying, “The Men’s Choir was awesome! They sang beautifully and powerfully. The song moved me to tears.” All I can say was, “It was a miracle.”
It was. So much so that I was shaking and sobbing when I received my Ashen Cross from Pastor Dave, who was also one of our choir members. Surely the presence of the Lord is in our midst, and I was deeply humbled.
What a way to start Lent!
How have you experienced humility before God?
Have you ever experienced the greatness of God so powerfully that it caused you to tremble and weep?
And after catching so much fish that the nets began to break … Simon cried out, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” … Jesus replied, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:6, 8, 10)