As happens every Sunday of the year, my heart was thumping, my thoughts were going a mile a minute, and my ice cold fingers were about to shake right off my hands as I played the intro for our first song. (I've been playing either the piano or the organ in front of a church congregation for 25 years. Yep. Since I was 13 years old and my brother opened his big mouth and announced to the preacher that I could play the organ. I could have choked him, but that's another story for another time. Anyway, I've never. EVER. been comfortable playing the piano or organ in front of people. All too often I see so many mistakes and it scares me to death.)
Victory in Jesus...
we've sang this very song hundreds of times before. I've always loved it, and it's one of my favorites to play.
But something was different.
I heard an old, old story. How a Savior came from glory.
How He gave His life on Calvary, to save a wretch like me.
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood's atoning.
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.
O victory in Jesus, my Savior for ever.
He sought me and bought me, with His redeeming blood.
He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him.
He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood.
Soprano. Alto. Tenor and Bass all combined together brought sweet, sweet music to my delighted ears. This congregation wasn't going through the motions. They knew what they were singing about, and...they were happy.
When people sing loud, it's an encouragement to me. I play louder. I play better. But still, the terror was present. People I didn't know were there. People that could probably play the piano better than I were there.
Oh dear Lord, what if I mess up?
The next song was announced, and I could almost feel Jesus lay His comforting hand on my shoulder.
Don't worry... He seemed to say. Don't be scared. I haven't given you the spirit of fear, but of peace. Just serve Me as best as you can. I'm here, and I know you love Me.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross...
Again, not a new song. A lovely, spirit-filled song, but not new on my playing list. Doesn't seem to matter. The jitters have their claws in my heart, and I have to get through this song. Even if I mess up. The voices swelled in harmony and seemed to float right into Heaven as they began the third verse.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Finally, the last song. Then I can go hunker down and hide in my seat. Please Lord. Please let me get through this next song.
Even today, I wonder how the rafters are still on the roof of our church when everyone started the last song. Moving. Beautiful. POWERFUL and even these words can't describe what it sounded like. The best I can describe it would be that all Heaven stopped and stood still to listen to these redeemed human beings praise the Lamb of God. To worship the real reason for Easter. Jesus's resurrection from the grave. His victory over death to provide a way for sinful man to share Heaven with Him.
The last song?
I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today.
I know that He is living, no matter what man can say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him,
He's always near.
He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me, and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives!
Salvation to impart.
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!
I know Jesus Himself placed His nail-scarred hands over my own to play that song in front of all those people. Because I couldn't have done it any other way.
...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4