We’ve all been there at some time—You’ve finished the opening couple worship songs that were filled with energy and celebration. The mood changes a bit and now there’s a quietness that starts to settle on the band and crowd. You make a few comments to help direct peoples attention toward approaching the holy of holies in reverence. At that point you take your capo and move it up the neck to accommodate a key change and then begin strumming as you head into a somber tune. As you approach the first chorus, the band starts joining you but you quickly sense uneasiness amongst the team. The further you go into the chorus the cacophony of tones is jarring and unsettling. As your mind scurries trying to detect where the problem may be, it suddenly hits you…..you put the capo on the wrong fret and you are in the wrong key. And now it’s happened….a colossal TRAIN WRECK!
Inevitably moments like these happen for reasons that are even out of your control. Sometimes the crowd can’t detect them. Sometimes they can’t be hidden. Last month the Internet was buzzing with an electric guitar solo Nick Jonas performed while doing a duet with Kelsea Ballerini at the ACM awards. He looked cool walking around while he played and then all of a sudden, on national TV, he played a big ole fat clunker. It couldn’t even be seen as some hip, jazz scale tone…it was a completely wrong note. He didn’t wince or roll his eyes, but just kept soldiering on with the song.
In moments of worship, it’s easy to think this is the worst thing that can happen. In a concert performance with well-rehearsed performers, it can happen. I remember even Chris Martin from Coldplay forgetting words and playing wrong notes. We’d like to think this is to be avoided at all costs. However, I’ve found a different way to view it. While I feel my role is to help our team be as prepared as possible, I’ve found that a moment that is obviously a mistake can be a good teaching opportunity. I now see it as a way to point people to who we are and what our purpose for playing is. I share with our crowd that our mistake is a reminder that they haven’t come to see a flawless performance and to now see the beauty of this moment: God is please with our broken, flawed expressions of worship. While we worship a holy, transcendent Creator, we also worship God our loving Father. The presentation of our imperfect worship doesn’t bother God one bit. He looks more at the heart and sincerity of our worship and not at the frailty of it.
I really like to avoid train wrecks! But, now when they happen they actually help me keep our attention on God and not on the musicians. They are great redirecting moments. They actually lead us in worship as they diminish any ‘rock concert’ vibe and help remind us what it is we are actually doing at that point in time.
But….hopefully they only happen on rare occasions.