Maria so beautifully shared here what it means to serve one another as the Body of Christ, and more specifically as a community of worshipers within the Body.  Such moving images of coming together to care for and nurture one another!  For those of us who have been gifted and called in the area of music, we can sometimes feel that our “calling” really isn’t ministry.  How do we practically minister to or serve people through music?

I believe with my whole heart that God created music very intentionally.  It is a beautiful means by which He speaks to our hearts, and we in turn can speak to His heart, and to one another.  Music has the ability to reach into places that mere words often cannot.  Think about a time when you have been physically or emotionally moved by a symphony, or a choir, or a band. Think about that special song you share with a loved one and how you feel when you hear it.  Or for you Gamecock fans, what you feel when you hear 2001?!  Oh yes, I’ve been there and heard that cheering!  Like all other created things within this fallen, broken world, music can be corrupted and used for ignoble purposes. But it is my deep conviction that music is created to be a unique vessel of God’s glory.

We are able to serve one another through music simply by using this vessel to infuse God’s heart into the lives of others.  Music can permeate even the darkest places, meeting people right where they are, and bringing hope. One of the most powerful musical worship experiences I’ve ever had was sitting on the floor of a small hut in a village in rural Zambia, surrounded by a grieving family. This family had just lost a 4-year-old daughter. When there is a death in Zambia, it is tradition for the friends and family of the deceased to gather at the “funeral house”. They remove all the furniture from the main room and ladies sit on the floor, backs to the walls, all the way around the room, and mourn together. The men sit outside. As I sat in that room being engulfed by the occasional swells of wailing and crying out, it took me awhile to get past the cultural discomfort of the situation. But I slowly began to really understand the precious gift that this communal grieving was (that’s another subject for another day).  Then, during one point of silence a beautiful voice began to sing. And suddenly that small, concrete room was filled with the sound of harmonies lifted up to Jesus. It was one of the most exquisite things I’ve ever heard. God was there. And even though I could not understand all the words they were singing, I could feel the presence of God and the comfort of His Spirit.  Scripture began to literally flood my mind and I wept like I had never wept before alongside this grieving family. God used music to reach right into that room and into our hearts.

We can serve one another as a community of worshipers by allowing God to use us to be a blessing and an encouragement to others – whether it is in church worship services, small groups, or even secular settings.  When we abide in Him and then surrender those gifts of music and our calling as worshipers, He can use those gifts anywhere to build others up!  It is a great privilege, and yes, even an act of obedience to do so!

Ephesians 5:18b-21

be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:16-17

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 95:2

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Isaiah 40:3

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Kerri Roberts, Assistant Director of Music

Check out the songs we’ll be singing in Contemporary Worship (11:15am) this week:

NEPC Contemporary Setlist