I can’t remember a time when something happened as much as it did this past Sunday…
But more on that later (doh!).
As with many of our power-packed services, especially ones with baptism, we were a little pressed for time up front, especially since we were definitely going to do closer. And doing closer means Andy needs to be on stage speaking even earlier than usual.
So we opted to two worship songs that were a little out (or outdated!) from our current songs to strategically go with Andy’s message series. Again, we don’t normally program worship to be directly coordinated with a specific message or series, but yesterday was one of those rare times we did.
Andy was wrapping up the “He’s Still Got The Whole World In His Hands” series – one that has really hit home for a lot of folks in lieu of these crazy days we’re living in.
So we dusted off Charlie Hall’s version of “On Christ The Solid Rock” from the Passion Hymns album to start. We’ve done it a bunch over the last few years, so it wasn’t a total newbie – plus it’s a great rendition of the classic hymn. And hey, who doesn’t like a good 6/8 sea shanty? Somehow all the musicians turn into Maritime fisherman or pirates…
But the lyric sets it all up: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…“.
We then did a tune that we haven’t done for a looong time, and even when we did, it was infrequent and short lived at best. It’s Matt Redman’s “You Never Let Go“. It was a big hit at High School camps a few years ago, but never really had that “grown up” appeal. Something about that “oh no, You never let go..” part that has always seemed a bit, I don’t know, campy? The content is not, it’s the “oh no” part. Maybe it’s just me…
Either way, the Worship Leaders on each side did a great job with it, and it helped a ton that it was appropriate for the series, and not out of left field.
Steve Fee and his Fee Band boys, who were with us in East this past week, had done this tune at Buckhead Church at the beginning of this sermon series and put an extra spin on it. At the end of the tune they did not ritard, and when the band hit the last chord Steve on acoustic kept playing the “1″ chord. After 4 bars of just acoustic he started singing the verse of Amazing Grace:
“Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.”
The band hits big diamonds on “T’was” and “safe“, then builds through the last line into a giant all-skate of the 1st verse (Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…). Goosebumps, people. Goosebumps! Some serious Holy Spirt movement, if you know what I’m talkin’ about. From there, back into one final chorus of “Oh no, You never let go…“.
The whole thing is about 6:30, but worth every second.
BUT! If you can believe it or not, the musical highlight came at the end of the service….
Steve and the boys are currently working on a new album, and Steve had played one of the new tunes for Andy – who loved it and even shaped some of the series’ message content around the tune.
It’s called “Everything Falls” and will probably be the first single off the new record, due in August.
Steve and Eddie Kirkland wrote the song, and it’s one of their best.
Plus a great band and a live string quartet made the whole musical experience incredibly powerful – especially on the end of a very relevant message and series.
On a personal note, I played the live piano for that tune on Sunday, which is totally exposed for the intro, 1st verse and chorus. And I don’t know if I’ve ever been so nervous playing 4 of the most simple chords – Am, F, C, and G.
A child could play those in their sleep, but all I could think was “don’t screw up, everyone’s counting on you, don’t screw up, they can hear every note you’re playing, don’t screw up, this is probably going on a DVD, don’t screw up, one wrong note and you’ll ruin this moment for 5,000 people, don’t screw up, or you’ll never get asked to do anything ever again, don’t screw up, you’re a professional, don’t screw up, what’s the order of these 4 stupid chords???, don’t screw up, is it Am first, or C? AAHHHHHH!!!!!”
And now you see why musicians are neurotic.
But everything was OK – due to years of practice, but mostly a whole lot of grace from God.
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East Band – Steve Fee, Matt Adkins, Heath Baltzglier, Brandon Coker, (with strings and me on the closer)
West Band – Danny Dukes, Ryan Stuart, Brad Long, Danny Grady, Wayne Viar, Richard Meeder, Keith Thomas
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What runs through your mind before your featured moment on stage?