We are at M-Fuge this week. This story makes a whole lot more sense if I start off with that fact.
Today I got to see unashamed worship in a way that absolutely blew me away. Working as a youth pastor and as a worship leader I get to worship in lots of different ways. Normally when it comes to corporate settings I am the one doing the leading. But today was really one of the coolest worship moments of my life and probably the purest moment of worship I have experienced all year.
It didn’t come at camp with all of the big flashy lights and songs, although there have been some cool moments there too. It happened in a day program for seniors where I met this 99 year old man, who will turn 100 in a month and who could play a harmonica like no one I had ever seen.
This man, who had been playing harmonica since he was 12 (you can do the math) was very proud of the way he could play and very proud of his double sided harmonica. He even had a letter written by some famous harmonica player (whom I had never heard of) who gave him the instrument he was playing.
We were at this day center to sing a few hymns do a couple of crafts and interact with the senior adults. I had played a few songs on the guitar so this man asked me if we could play together.
I am not a very good guitar player. I mean, I can play chords and songs, but I need music. I don’t play by ear, and since I am self taught I never really learned stuff like what chords are in what key. But none of that mattered. Mr. Sommer played and I did my best to keep up. He would nod at me when to change chords and he would stop and encourage me from time to time.
He and I started off alone, playing songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace.” We played them quietly for a while learning each other and trying to pick out the notes, but as we found our rhythm I began to sing a little louder and he began to play a little louder. I missed more notes than I got right, but it didn’t matter he and I were connected in a way that I think only musicians (and it is funny to call myself that) can understand.
We were playing and singing and just sort of forgot about everything else for a while and so when he got up and started to to a little dance, just a little soft shoe keeping time with the beat, I got up too and began to dance as well. By the time we finished I’ll Fly Away for the 4 time I looked up and noticed two things 1) we had an audience and 2) I was out of breath and the 99 year old playing the harmonica wasn’t.
It is hard to explain a moment like this. Even in the writing I feel like I have tainted it somehow. It was worship that was pure, I could see it in his eyes and for those few minutes that we played we formed a connection to each other because of our connection with God.
I saw unashamed worship today and it made me hungry for more.