Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ministry in the Air

I have experienced it twice in recent days.  It brought back a memory of long years ago of a vacation trip which took us to Norfolk, Va.  Coming out of a store in the market area of the city, we immediately heard the sounds of a bagpipe playing "Amazing Grace."  It was one of those totally unexpected moments which provided a powerful midday blessing.  Curiosity led me to discover that it was a guy who often took his lunch hour to play from an upper level of a parking garage.  It was wonderful and certainly memorable the way his gift of music floated out over that part of the city causing people to look upward in more ways than one.
More recently it was a violin and a piano.  Walking through a busy hospital waiting room which emptied sufferers into clinics, treatment areas, and hospital rooms, I became aware of someone playing a violin.  It was a young Asian American girl sitting there in that busy room providing a moment for people to pause and breathe and be renewed.  It always amazes me that music has the ability to touch the heart in ways that words only struggle to do.  And, then, in another place very much like the first, there was a middle aged man playing the piano.  As the music drifted across the lobby of that hospital, I found myself being made aware of the way God breaks in upon us in surprising and unexpected ways.  Even though it may seem at times that He must surely be elsewhere, all of a sudden there is that reminder of His presence.  And, of course, when I looked his way and saw the cross and flame emblem, a symbol of the spiritual community which has nurtured me all my life, I was even more blessed and reminded that where ever I go, God is there before me.
I have always told church musicians that they bring more blessing than they would ever realize.  What is offered by them in the context of worship is not just filler for the preacher, but a means of ministry that God uses in amazing ways.  As a preacher I know that some will sleep through even my best efforts and that others will be blessed by what seems to me to be me preaching at my worst.  But, always it is about what God is doing.  It is no different with those who provide this musical ministry in the air.  Some may walk by and never hear, but, ah, there are those who hear not just with their ears, but with their hearts. 

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