Worship All Night (Well, Almost!)

This year the Feast of Tabernacles in Kalisz has more worship teams than ever before from all over Europe, and this year even one representing Israel.  And that’s what had us up worshiping almost all night.  The leader of the Israel worship team arrived a couple of days ahead of his team, and he asked Team Italy to play backup for him.  The musicians all said yes immediately.  Bethany was desperately tired, and I wasn’t convinced that I would be either wanted or needed, and so thought a good night’s sleep would do me some good.

Remember, yesterday, we did the worship from 2-4 AM.  Team Israel’s time was 10-12 PM, and our next session was 4-6 AM.  So Bethany was probably wise to get some sleep while she could.

I don’t remember what it was that changed my mind.  I think I just got excited about the idea of backing up Hebrew worship songs.  I think there was also the feeling that I should be with the team if at all possible.  It turned out to be a great choice.  The music was amazing and very anointed, the sanctuary was packed out, and best of all, God showed up.  I don’t know how, but two hours went blazing by in what seemed like 20 minutes at the most.

Then we went back to the hotel, slept for about three hours, and went back to do our early morning session.  Yesterday’s early session was only Team Italy.  This morning there were a few other people in the sanctuary, most of whom joined into the spirit of worship.  I say most because there were two girls who sat on the sofa (situated in front of the platform where the drums are, and right by the table where the Communion bread and wine were set out for us to partake of before our worship sessions).  For our entire set, these two girls talked and giggled, even though the church gave strict instructions several times that the sanctuary is not a place to talk.  It was very distracting for me and for Bethany, since we were angled to face toward the couch, and couldn’t look toward the other teammates without catching sight of the girls.

I had a shaker egg in my hand, and was tempted to throw it at them.  Then I remembered what the Holy Spirit told me about rude people: it is not my job to teach them manners  I’m just supposed to love them.  So then I prayed that they would get up and go someplace else.  They didn’t.  And when I complained to God, He said, “They are not the problem, you are!  You need to focus on seeking Me, and you should be able to focus on Me no matter where you are or who is around.”

So it wasn’t a fun lesson or an especially fun session—the techie didn’t do a very good job of hooking us up, so we couldn’t hear each other, and the music suffered (yes, the musicians all got borrowed instruments–God provides!).  But it was an important step in personal spiritual growth, and that’s what counts.  God is good!

Worship in the Wee Hours

Team Italy’s first worship session was 2-4 AM on the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Here is our team:

Giuseppe – Bass player and musical director of the worship team

Roberto – Drummer and Giuseppe’s very talented son

Daniele – Electric guitar player

Felicity – Acoustic guitar player and worship leader

Bethany – Chorus and intercessor

Me – Chorus and intercessor (and possible dancer), also team leader in things non-musical

Upon our arrival, one of the German teams was playing.  Not being a musician, I didn’t notice anything wrong until our bass player came to me and pointed out that there were no guitars, and three members of our team play guitar: electric, acoustic, and bass.  What to do?

I sent the drummer up as our first musician to take over while we figure the rest of it out.  He went up on the platform and behind the drum partition.  The German drummer refused to let him slide in and take over.  It was a surreal moment.  Meanwhile the rest of the team began pacing in various parts of the room, while the German team played some soft background music, just right for making the changeover.

Just then the techie arrived.  He told me that they don’t have any instruments to loan, which is not what I had been told.  He made a call, and found us an acoustic guitar, which we put into Daniele’s hands.  Giuseppe, clearly unhappy at first about not having an instrument to play, began to pray and worship from below the platform.  Soon his worship became truly joyful.

So with drums and guitar, we made music for the Lord.  Believe it or not, it was really nice, too!  We (the three females) did a lot of riffing, which turned out really nicely.  There were a couple of songs that Felicity launched into that were either not in the songbook or were too unfamiliar to me.  At those times, I stepped from the platform, grabbed an Italian flag, and started dancing.  By that time only team Italy was in the sanctuary, so that gave me a great deal of freedom.

Giuseppe stepped onto the platform and using Bethany’s microphone (the closest one at hand), prophesied that he now had a bigger vision than Italy, and that all this—even not having all our instruments—was a part of God’s plan.

At one point, Felicity had been riffing for a while in a very mellow mood, and I thought it might be too mellow for the hour.  So I stepped back up onto the platform, riffing the title of a lively song that she had planned for our first session, but perhaps had forgotten about.  She gave me a big grin, and launched right into it, which gave Roberto something to really sink his drumsticks into.

Before I knew it our replacements were in the room, dancing joyfully to our music and preparing to take the platform.  I don’t know how two hours passed so quickly.

On the way out of the church building, Giuseppe told me, “We need to get instruments somehow.”  Yes, somehow, we do need to get instruments.  But thank You, Lord, for this first session and what it taught each of us about the heart of worship.  The heart really is more important than the music, and we had plenty of heart.  God is good!