I know I sometimes confuse folks in my church during worship service. Many — most — of them grew up singing traditional Baptist hymns. Maybe they had a choir or maybe a worship leader strumming on an acoustic guitar.
I grew up in a small Catholic church at exactly the time Catholics were trying to appeal a little more to the masses (no pun intended). I started playing guitar in church when I was in middle school. Although it was just two acoustic guitars strumming G, C, and D, it was pretty radical for our church at that time.
So for me, church music was always edgy.
Today, I play an electric guitar with full-on effects. Delay, reverb and crunch. I play Jesus Rock n’ Roll. On Sunday mornings I sometimes find myself in the classic rock guitar stance, or standing on one leg, or with my pick hand behind my back for some reason. I wander across the stage, jump up and down and never stand still.
Truthfully, I’m not really that good. Luckily it doesn’t take a lot to chunk out power chords or play some of the Contemporary Christian Music riffs.
I cannot overstate how important that time playing with the worship band is to me. You see, the reason I can’t stay still when I’m playing … the reason I end up in those strange poses … is because there is a time when I am playing with the band that everything goes away but the music.
And that moment is my greatest prayer of thanksgiving to God.
The way I was brought up, rote recitation of the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Hail Mary” is all I was really taught. I agree with my church friends now that prayer is a conversation with God, but understanding and being able to do it are two different things. My prayers are stilted and formulaic.
But that never happens in the music. When we are playing and everything is right, I can throw my head back and let my guitar say, “Thank you, Lord, for this life! I am so blessed.”
I know that music is a gift straight from God and that’s where I meet Him — in the music. And the result of that meeting is a pure joy that causes me to move to the rhythm.
And that’s why I act like I do on Sunday mornings.
So this Sunday, when we play “Set A Fire” and the music swells halfway through and I walk over toward Nathan on the drums and it looks like I am hanging my head and trying to beat up my guitar, don’t worry.
I’m just spending some quality time with God.