A Visit from a Friend

My former church mentor and friend Monica flew back to Texas for a graduation and while she was here volunteered to be the guest worship leader for the sunday service at our old church. I usually just listen to the sermons via online podcast but when i read the pamphlet and saw her photo you better believe i made plans to drive in to the city to see her. I cried so many happy tears. It was just like old times. The sermon was amazing and so relevant and genuine. Monica was back on the same stage that had always been, tapping her toe and swaying and jumping to the beat of the music as she played her guitar and sung her heart out. For people who have never seen Monica lead a worship service, it is a moving and powerful experience. It gives you shivers and it always moves me to tears to see her sing and play the guitar, because she doesnt just sing. She moves about the stage as if she was meant to be there, as if nobody is watching…as if it is just her and the music. She sways and jumps to the beat and when a part of the song she likes comes around, especially a part where the instruments drop down and our voices are heard without them, she turns her face slightly to the ceiling with eyes closed, a big grin spreading across her face as she listens to all our voices singing the song together. She experiences some kind of joy when leading others in music and it is infectious. It is beautiful to watch the ripple effect as Monica has never cared how tone deaf we are or arent as a congregation. She cares to hear voices raised together in praise of the same thing, a Grace filled and ever-loving God. She has had her fair share of hardship and so too have many if not all of the people sitting in that sanctuary, but in that moment they are all united by one thing, their burdens lifted from them, and their hearts filled with love and faith as the music vibrates through the speakers and swirls about the room. And so even if the person in front of me or beside me cant carry a tune to save their lives they are belting it with feeling and purpose, because we know the words to this one. And people begin standing and once one person stands, so too does another, until the entire room is standing and belting it with Monica as if we’re all professional opera students. It’s a small church. I enjoy a small church because you can learn to know everybody and when one person starts a chain reaction, the group is small enough for you to see it unfold in its entirety. This is what i miss. This is what used to make me cry every Sunday. I miss watching Monica lead people in worship through music. This is her God given gift, and no one will ever inspire so many tone deaf people to sing with such confidence, joy, and reckless abandon as that woman.

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