For some reason today I was thinking about a time when I was Music Director at Elizabeth Chapel UMC. It’s been a few years ago now. I absolutely loved that church and its members.
One day we were warming up to sing the anthem, when I looked up at my choir. All their faces were strained, and their sound was…not good. It was my fault; I had given them something to learn that was beyond their ability, and then misjudged how quickly we could prepare it. I slammed my book shut.
“Would you guys like to sing something else today?” I asked.
Heads nodded, some ashamed, some relieved. All in agreement.
A quick prayer, then “How Great Thou Art?” I suggested.
So that’s what we sang. Now, this song has affected nearly every listener who’s ever heard it since it came out in its current version in the 1950s. It was particularly effective at Elizabeth Chapel, because while facing the choir I stood at the foot of a huge stained glass depiction of Jesus. Literally–at his feet.
Interestingly, during the song I felt the sudden wind of the Holy Spirit come onto the choir. Their voices were audibly different, stronger, almost as if there were more of them. My hands shook so hard I could barely direct. Afterward, many members came forth to tell us how moved they were by the song.
That was God moving among the congregation that day. I’m so thankful He gave us, you and me, music that we can love and enjoy and allow Him to use to break through to our oft-hardened hearts.
Here is a great video of Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood performing How Great Thou Art. If you aren’t covered in goosebumps by the end, I’d like to know why! 🙂