What’s Your Song?

This morning, Alexa was kind enough to play some music for me. One of the songs in my get-ready-for-worship playlist is “The Stand” from Joel Houston of Hillsong. You’ll remember it:

I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all.
I’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered.
All I have is yours.

The recording on my playlist is in a concert/worship setting, and toward the end, the singer/leader dropped out but encouraged the audience/worshippers to sing that chorus one more time. You could hear hundreds–maybe thousands–of voices singing as one, praying as one, worshipping as one. Cool stuff.

It occurred to me that it would be amazing to have a song that you’ve written or popularized that you could begin and then allow those listening to carry it for you. But then I realized that many artists can do that sort of thing. The Rolling Stones could do that with “Wild Horses.” It would be an intoxicating feeling, but perhaps hollow.

We know that for that experience to be more than just a good feeling, the song needs to be worthwhile. It needs to take people into the presence of God. That’s what I think I heard on that recording. And it’s something that I’m pretty sure I’ll never experience as the songwriters/singer/worship leader. (Sigh.)

In mulling over that bittersweet thought, I realized that every one of us is gifted by God to write such a song. More precisely, we’re called to do something that will powerfully bless others and help them draw closer to Jesus and to God the Father. My song isn’t a literal song with lyrics and melody. Yours probably isn’t either.

I’ve written some songs, and I’d love to be able to stand on a stage and lead people in singing them. That sounds great, but that’s not my calling, not my song. I could preach a good sermon, but that doesn’t seem to be my song either–at least not as a vocation.

What if I–or what if you–sat around lamenting that my songs don’t resonate with people in the way that, say, Michael W. Smith’s songs do? What if I couldn’t listen to sermons without wondering why I don’t get the chance to preach? If I allowed myself to get stuck in that way, I’d never create whatever alternate form of song that God has gifted me to fashion.

Paul addresses this thinking in 1 Corinthians 12:12-16

For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ…Indeed, the body is not one part but many.  If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 

What is your “song”? There’s something that you were created to do for the people (or the future people) of God that will be every bit as life-changing and amazing as having thousands of people singing your song by memory. It probably won’t be as dramatic, and it probably won’t engage thousands of people at the same moment, but it can be just as powerful.

But if I sit around listening to “The Stand” and pitying myself that my songwriting won’t rise to that level, then I’ll never write the “song” that only I can write.

Higher or Lower? (Psalm 8:5)

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5)

I am so wonderful! Can I tell you about my wonderfulness. I can sort of speak Spanish, work not only PCs but Macs, and cook up a dandy pot of chili. I raise good chickens, can teach writing with one arm tied behind my back, and sort of juggle. My singing is decent, as is my acting, and my sudoku playing. Yes, I am a wonderful creature.

Now that I have that out of my system, let’s get completely serious. Humans, after complete review, are really amazing creatures. Think of the physical things we can pull off. The mental things. The artistic things. Picture a figure skating routine. Remarkable. Then look to the Golden Gate Bridge or the microchip. Amazing on both counts. Listen to a Mozart sonata or a play by Sophocles. Incredible stuff.

People are amazing. We create new varieties of apples, design bridges to cross wide chasms, and bake chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies! We are indeed a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor.

Doesn’t David seem to be doubling back on himself here? Didn’t he just get through asking why God would bother with us? Didn’t he just finish pointing out how meaningless we are when compared to the stars? Come on, David, you can’t have it both ways.

But of course the human condition requires us to have it both ways. On the one hand, we’re standing in front of the Grand Canyon, mouths agape, recognizing our insignificance. On the other, we’re throwing our hands in the air after accomplishing the greatest thing we can manage.

In reality, there is no contradiction here. Just as God put the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, He did the crowning of man with glory and honor. How full of myself can I get when I recognize that I am not ultimately responsible for my wonderfulness.

I am wonderful. Fearfully and wonderfully made by a God much more amazing than the most amazing of humans. This is my place, a good place to be.