Monday, April 18, 2011

Good News - as honestly as I know how

fpcBrandon - choir rehearsal 
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12)

I think my favorite thing about Palm Sunday is how it sets the stage for Holy Week. It's this big slam-dunk of praise and positive energy before slipping into the more contemplative mode of reflection through Good Friday.

Sunday morning our choir completely blew me away with some magnificent singing. They were accompanied by probably the best string quintet in the metro area, and the sound just washed over the church as if we'd all been offered a brief glimpse into the music of heaven.

I do not consider myself a soloist, but Mark (our music director) asked me to sing a simple arrangement of "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" as part of the program. I accompanied myself on acoustic guitar and by all accounts the rendition seemed to work.

Our Praise Band director offered an observation about my song that I want to share this morning as a Holy Week devotional moment. The difficulty for me - as I write - is to convey the essence of what Don said accurately, yet without having it come across as "Look at Derek", or "Derek thinks he's so cool he has to write about himself in his blog"...!

Of course it's impossible to blog without being self-referential. This is, after all, an on-line journal, a log of personal reflections that several hundred of you just happen to check in with on a regular basis. But I'm also conscious of the fact something else is going on here, that God is consistently using this space as a conduit for God's story. I want to always honor God's trust with content that tells the truth about the Good News.

Segue. "Telling the truth about the Good News" is exactly what I had intended to say about how my song apparently worked Sunday in church. 

Don told me that my rendition of the song was "Honest". He told me that I sung the song as an honest offering. He said that he enjoyed it because it wasn't a performance. He said it was pure, that I had delivered the message of the song without getting in the way of it.

I joked that such an effect is not difficult to achieve when you don't have any talent! But I actually knew exactly what Don was talking about. I thought of the horrible mess some "artists" make of our national anthem at ball games when they try to make the occasion all about them instead of all about America. At church yesterday I simply wanted to tell the story... 
  • "Were the whole realm of nature mine; That were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine; Demands my soul, my life, my all."
My prayer - and this blog is conceived in and surrounded by prayer - is always that I can get out of the way enough that The Greatest Story Ever Told will find a voice here. I pray that my observations about what's going on in my life (as a man, a husband, a clergy-hubby, a father, a leader, a writer, a Pilgrim-in-Progress) will serve as a conduit for the truth about the Good News.

That's why the image of me singing - simply - along with my acoustic guitar, and Don's observation that it was "An honest offering" is hopefully also a reasonable description of what's going on here in this blog space.

I want you to click off from reading this page having experienced something of the truth. Something authentic. Good News uncontaminated by performance. Hope and promise and grace and blessing that rings true, uncontrived.

It's the correct posture to begin this most meditative of weeks. Holy Week.
Honestly - DEREK


  1. Derek,
    Thanks for sharing your "offering" on the blog. It is always a challenge " to get out of the way" and let God receive the glory and honor.You modelled it well for us and thank you for the same.