band, church, hillsong, singers, singing, WORSHIP, worship leader


Today is Sunday which is a nice reflective day of the week, or at least is meant to be.
Sadly, the reflecting about today was pretty much along the lines of the lament.
Now, I muck around a bit with the music at my little church, and we like the kids to take part as some of them are really good. Way better than me because they actually have lessons and know how to sing in tune.
We do new songs and a few of them the whole church have embraced, and I just knew they would love this one. Brooke Fraser’s Like Incense/Step By Step (below). Bearing in mind music is subjective, I think it has a fabulous melody. The chorus, to me, is Taize-like. The words are scriptural from Psalm 119 so there is a meditative aspect of it to lose yourself in. And most important of all – I can play it.
So last week we practised with the kids: we had acoustic guitars and bass, and it sounded good. I was leading, ie playing the introduction and leading in with the singing, and was pretty happy about it.
But during the week I had to leave town quite suddenly, and so I did no practising at all. However, we met to do our practice before the service and it went well, and people listening said it sounded great, which is always a relief for newbies like us.
So the service starts, and Jack is leading us in the other songs – Amy, Anna and I are singing, not playing at this point – and we get to the part where we’re going to play this song. So we set up, and right as we’re about to start, and bass player Amy is looking at me in a “You’re on, Jo,” kind of way, I have this massive “I can’t do it.” moment.
I can not explain what came over me when I have done this before with different songs, but she’s giving me the “Come on, Jo,” nudge, and I’m thinking, FOR SOME INEXPLICABLE REASON, I am thinking… I can’t do this.
Anna, the other singer, is looking odd at me, the people out there are waiting, and I say, “Jack can lead us in.”
Now, Jack’s been doing this a while and I figured he wouldn’t stuff it up because he knows what he’s doing (he’s the minister)  but he wasn’t meant to lead this song off.
But I had no choice, Jack is looking around and I’m telling him he can do it because I know, I just know, that if I do it FOR SOME INEXPLICABLE REASON, it will be a disaster …  IN SPITE OF THE FACT it had gone well in practice an hour earlier.
But then, as we all know, sixty minutes is plenty of time to forget stuff.
Or have a meltdown.
What can I say except that clearly, clearly, I have the gift of wisdom or prophecy or something… Because it turns out I was exactly right.
I totally did stuff it up.
But not by playing wrong chords or naff changes, or singing out of tune or any of the usual ways.
I stuffed it up by NOT sticking to the plan and doing it in the first place.
Jack took over the leading, albeit with a degree of confusion because it turns out he didn’t actually know the song that well.  He had planned to follow us.
Had I not noticed that he had not been at our earlier practices?
So we played it.
And I legit can’t even begin to describe how bad it was.
There were issues with timing and the fact we didn’t have a decent introduction, but most of all – most of all – Jack did not have all the verses in front of him… because he was meant to be following my lead.
And so, half way through the song, we reached a point where we had more verse to sing, and Jack, because he did not have all the words in front of him, thought that was the end and went back to the chorus.
So we are playing and singing the rest of verse two and Jack is half way through the chorus and it is clear this is just hideous.
I was a whisker off hissing, “Abort. Abort.”
Fortunately, I didn’t need to because it terminated all on its own.
Oh My Gosh.
What can I say except that after the service, after much lamenting and “Take me, God, take me up now!” pleading (am still not convinced this is a theologically sound request) I told everyone that we would do it next week and I would lead.
Hand on heart, I said, I will lead you, my good people. Like Moses led the Israelites, I will lead you in this song.
Well, everyone was pretty happy with that.
So that was all arranged and I felt a little better for making amends, and lamented my meltdown some more (‘lamented’ is my new favourite word), and thanked God for not granting my pleadings to be beamed up to the clouds.
Yet now, many hours later, I still don’t know what came over me.
Stuff ups happen, but those poor kids who had practiced and were probably nervous enough to begin with – ouch.
I may have to bring chocolate next week although with a bit of luck they’ve all forgotten and mercifully are exchanging personal details and intimate photos on Instagram right now instead of thinking “What the heck was she on?
(Names have been changed so I don’t get sued excommunicated banned from the band.)
Here is the good version – although three times as long as we would do it. Pretty nice, though.