Two Long Weeks: One Small Lesson
I'm just returning (recovering?) from two straight weeks of Reunions (week long family church camps). The first outside of Remote, Oregon (and boy, was it!), the second at Samish Island in the north Puget Sound. This explains my lack of posting these two weeks - the first week was entirely cut off from all electronic communication, the second was so busy I had no time for any.
Reunions are both rejuvenating and exhausting. Try two of them back-to-back.
At Remote, among a great many other things, I was assigned with leading two song/praise services each day, every day. This despite my lack of interest or ability in leading praise-singing. I did say to the director, though, that I would do anything she needed me to do... so I guess I deserved it.
The Remote CofC-ers were exceedingly generous, however, and faithfully participated in (and perhaps even enjoyed) the singing. I ended up introducing several songs to the camp, two of which were taken from the labor movement: "We Shall Not Be Moved" and "Roll the Gospel (formerly 'Union') On!" They were so much fun to sing that by the end of the week we didn't need the lyrics on the Powerpoint anymore and were comfortable spontaneously improvising variations.
By the end of the week - with ten or more of these song-services under my belt - I felt comfortable leading them. So much so that my first few days at the next camp up at Samish Island, I actually missed not leading the song services. As a result, at the Wednesday evening worship/communion service, I volunteered to lead the pre-service singing. Up went my Powerpoint, and I started strumming on a borrowed guitar (thanks, Catherine). The musicians - a bass, a viola, and a piano - who were there for the service, started joining in and improvising accompaniment like a Prarie Home Companion segment. And the congregation not only sang but belted out the songs - throwing at me suggestions for lyrics and everyone singing along. The Samish Saints raised the roof - cultivating a spirit of excitement and anticipation which started off a great Communion service.
All because the Remote Reunion Director took me at my word and made me step outside of my comfort zone, to serve in an unexpected way. What I had been grumbling about inside myself leading up to and even through the Remote Reunion, ended up being a tremendous ministry to me, and helped me be a better minister to others.
This doesn't mean I won't necessarily grumble about my next uncomfortable assignment. But I will have to rethink how long I avoid throwing myself into it regardless.