Leading a worship service at a nursing home should not be an especially difficult thing. It is actually an enormous privilege for those of us who have the opportunity. But one particular Sunday I was battling not only the technology, but also my own mind. I wonder if you relate.
Do you ever have times when you’re trying to do three things at once and nothing is getting the attention all three things deserve?
I arrived with one other person, and all seemed fine until I couldn’t get the television to work (which plays our background music when we don’t have a pianist). With the rest of our arrangement having arrived, I sought the help of a staff member and got it going, but the songs were out of order with the song sheets. Not a big deal. The gentleman who was leading the service was happy to run with it. The next challenge was to coordinate the volume control, song selection, and sing. Gee, to me it felt so uncoordinated. In my flesh I felt like such a fool. At one stage, with two excellent baritone voices accompanying, we decided to abandon the music and go acapella – worked a treat. When it came to me sharing the word of encouragement I decided to abandon much of what I had prepared and go with the flow of a service run by the Holy Spirit – spoke on the story of John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, as well as Billy Graham and John 3:16-17.
In my embarrassment I learned something old in a fresh way. God can do much through us as we simply hold ourselves together the best we can when everything seems to be falling apart. It always seems worse in the moment, but God does something with our best efforts, even though we ourselves are cringing.
Indeed, having seen this in others, I can attest to the power present in a person who reveals their vulnerabilities before others – who is not afraid of being seen in their weakness. There is something very ingenuous in a person who serves without thought of and for themselves when they’re exposed, like they have nothing to hide.
It is for this reason I draw comfort.
May our weakness further the witness of the Father’s Son in us.
It’s God’s strength in our weakness helping us be honest that helps us hold it together when everything’s falling apart.