Today, the unexpected happened. On a usual Sunday, I have several responsibilities as a church musician, technical operator, and secretary (think, printer of the bulletins). As usual, I arrived at the small country church outside Peterborough early; I printed and folded the bulletins, set up and tested the power points I’d created, ensured my two music videos would play and would be heard. I was sitting at the piano, readying myself for the music responsibilities, and running through the Children’s Time I would deliver. Our minister arrived in a flurry, and said she’d have to leave to get her sermon – she’d forgotten it at home. Home is 13 minutes away, and the service was to begin in four minutes. As she headed off for her sermon, I went to the pulpit and took a deep breath.
“With your permission,” I spoke into the microphone, “I will take the first part of today’s service.”
I saw a few nodding heads and took that as the permission I had sought.
Our minister arrived as I finished the first reading – truly half-way through the service. My part had involved leading the worship, responsive readings, candle lightings, Lord’s Prayer, hymns, two video presentations, a Psalm, and the Children’s Time.
At the end of the service, as I covered the piano and readied myself for my last responsibility of the morning — to take photographs for our church directory, a long stream of congregation members formed to congratulate me. They thanked me for my confidence.
“My confidence?” I thought. I was terrified!
It didn’t show, they said. That sense of confidence I shared from the pulpit (I was too nervous to venture out of it except for the Children’s Time during which I taught the congregation some sign language for the first words of the Bible) changed the whole sanctuary, they said. The energy was vibrant, they said.
I was called, and I stepped up. I walked through an uncomfortable door and found an unexpected reward. It wasn’t money or fame: it was a sense of having helped people around me.
Outside the church, the sun shone, people were smiling and sharing their energy, going off towards their own worlds feeling renewed and excited about what the coming week might bring. That was my unexpected – and priceless – reward.