It’s Easter, y’all!

Tonight is Easter Sunday, and I’m sitting in my pajamas watching Pitch Perfect with my little girl.  She’s up a little late tonight because after coming home from church and a long brunch, we all rested a little too long.  It feels like a pretty ordinary Sunday.  But so much about today is extraordinary.

I don’t remember much about Easter growing up; my folks made me Easter baskets, and sometimes I went to church with my neighbors across the street.  I don’t remember elaborate meals or new dresses and fancy hats.  Honestly, I don’t know that I understood the significance of the day at all.  But when I was 23 years old, I watched The Passion of the Christ and committed my heart and my life to a savior who subjected himself to so much for me.  My life changed forever.  The next week I went to my first church service on Easter that actually meant something.  When I understood how Jesus suffered on the cross, I finally understood how his resurrection was such a big deal.  Then the Easter I had celebrated as a child, the Easter of bunnies, candy, and new shoes seemed insignificant.

Today, my family celebrated Easter by serving at our church.  I worked with the media team, Stu served on the welcome team, Cari… well, I saw her a few times, but mostly she ran around like she owned the place.  We sang and laughed and cried (I did, anyway) and prayed a lot.  Cari got an Easter basket, of course, and we even shared a delicious meal with my dad, complete with endless mimosas.  It hasn’t been a fussy Easter, but a peaceful, joyful one.

How did you celebrate Easter yesterday?  Does your family have significant traditions?

Turning knobs and pushing faders

I am always, always the last one to sleep at my house.  That last chapter of a book, that last Tonight Show video on YouTube, or that obscure research I’ve been meaning to do all hold more of an attraction than sleep.  As a result, I find myself watching the clock as 2 AM comes and goes, muttering curses at myself as the <real> morning will be a lot harder as a result of my sleeplessness.  But there are some mornings that are easier than others, like the mornings I get to serve on the media team at my church.

I haven’t always been so joyful about serving.  When Cari was little, we attended another church where having a child basically required our service in the children’s ministry.  And we served…  but with none of the “whole heart and willing mind” commanded by God.  I barely reviewed lesson plans or ended them early, looking forward to snack time because it meant I wasn’t teaching.  For a time, Stu and I served as youth ministry leaders, teaching elementary-aged kids on Wednesday nights.  I had a blast with that…  we got to play games like who could eat a donut off a string with their hands tied behind their backs.  But as far at the teaching was concerned, well, I can’t guarantee how effective that was.  I was, however, endlessly thankful to the servants who taught my daughter, having a million times the patience and gifting I have.

Finally, however, I acted on a whisper in my spirit that I should join the worship team; God was speaking to me about it for years before I finally had the nerve to ask for an audition.  I was good friends with the worship leader, and despite his MANY reassurances, I was terrified to audition.  I even burst into tears when he put his fingers to the keys.  But my despite my nerves, I evidently proved well enough that I could carry a tune, and I started singing with the worship team later that year.  Singing with the worship team was a revelation: I was joyful to learn new music, to come to practice, to lead worship.  It made me more worshipful.  It brought me greater intimacy with my Lord.

Now I serve on the media team, turning nobs and pushing faders on the sound board, a role I never would have thought I would fill when I was singing on the worship team.  Oh the irony of sitting behind the sound board when as a singer I would complain weekly: “why does it take so long to do a sound check?  why do these levels need to be checked every week?”

One of my pastor’s strengths is helping get new people plugged into serving at our church: Stu and I hadn’t been attending more than a few months before Clayton, who knew I had served on a worship team but that I was unwilling to make that much of a commitment again, suggested I consider the media team, then purposefully introduced me to Jeremy, the media team leader.  Neither of us could very well avoid that direct a suggestion, so it wasn’t long before Jeremy signed me up to shadow on the sound board.  Terrified and tentative, I sat behind the sound board, fully aware that even though I wasn’t on stage, I could still easily wreck a service.

A year later, my terror has become joy.  I have a hard time believing that serving can be this much fun.  I wake up before 7 two Sundays a month; I walk around the sanctuary with my little decibel meter on my phone, making sure the mix sounds the same in the middle of the sanctuary as it does in the back; I push faders to manipulate the volume, now that I’m not scared of loud; I turn on the effects during slow songs to fill the room with more sound.  And I smile and laugh, never really ready for church to be over.

The Bible has lots to say about serving God, that serving should be in sincerity and in faithfulness, that those who serve are like Jesus, and that those serving should do so in God’s strength.  But sometimes it’s hard to remember that serving in church, even turning knobs and pushing faders, is an act of service to God.  We get caught up in busyness or even in laziness, making our service about us.  But my God deserves my joyful heart in turning those knobs; he probably rejoices in it.  And even sitting behind the sound board, I have the opportunity to help people meet God, to get closer to Him, and to be encouraged to serve, too.

Next Sunday is Easter!  If you’re local to Trinity, please consider joining me at my awesome church, Trinity New Life, for services at 9 and 10:30.  You might even catch a glimpse of me turning knobs on the sound board!Image