I watched an ancient film of Cyrano de Bergerac, coming into our living room in the middle of a hilarious scene. Cyrano is a brilliant poet who is in love (unproclaimed) with Roxanne, a gorgeous, rich French lady. M. de Bergerac possesses, unfortunately, a six-inch-long nose, which he has decided pretty much kills his chances for Roxie. So he settles for trying to help his inept friend Christian to win her heart, and get some vicarious satisfaction. Christian is too stricken with love to utter anything intelligent, and though he has gotten to below the balcony successfully, all he can say is "I love you... I love you... I adore you..." stumbling about the same four words over and over. Hidden deep in the bushes, Cyrano keeps feeding him lines and he keeps messing them up. Finally, Cyrano himself, still hidden, disguises his voice and does the courting, winning her so wholeheartedly that Christian gets bold enough to climb to the balcony and kiss her (not having the faintest as to what to say next, just keep kissing her, I guess). Fortunately, his army commander arrives and rescues him by calling him off to war and certain death. Ah, the classics!
Watching, I couldn't help but think of us worship leaders as Cyranos. Most of us Christians cannot think of more than five words to say to our Lord as we have gathered at the pews and altars. If asked to pray, all we can manage might be "I love you, Lord... I love You... I, uh, adore You...ummm, I praise You, yes, praise Your... name, uh, your Holy name." To the rescue come us Cyranos, armed with beautiful poetry from the great artists of the world, which the whole congregation can sing, and thus become poets, too. And the Lord arrives, and calls us to unknown places of service in His kingdom. Pretty good deal! It makes me glad to be a Cyrano, one who helps, semi-unseen behind my instrument, with worship.
How do you see your role in the love feast each week?
I'm definitely better with the written word...
Me, too -- and it isn't all bad. We could be eloquent, which is not all good. Mark Twain, in Letters from the Earth, has the reporting angel concur that the Lord uses the wind from our Sunday-School prayers and bundles them up into hurricanes to retard the progress of pirate vessels and other unworthies upon the sea.
I'm not good with the spoken word, although I do find that I vary depending on whom I am talking to. Why is that?
I know alot of Christians who are very apt in saying lots of poetic words to the Lord, in fact sometimes they forget shut up and let others get a word in edgeways. I think to myself 'How do they do that? You know, if all's you can say is 'I love you Lord' and mean it, then I reckon it's enough.
I'm assuming the comedy film starring Steve Martin called 'Roxanne' I think, is based off Cyrano de Bergerac?.
Communications experts, lend us your opinions!
...depending on whom I'm talking to.
Some people are easy to talk with, others you have to talk to. Easy people give you lots of nonverbal help, or even verbal, like in churches where people say "amen" and "preach it" and smile at you when they say those things. When faces are like iron or plasticine, then it's awful - I find myself doubting everything I say.
There is, or ought to be, a stop-button on this "going on and on" thing (sometimes the stop-button is my wife's elbow, if in a pew, or toe, if at a table). Once a man told me, "You sure have a lot of teeth in that mouth of yours."
Yes - if you mean those four words, it really is enough. Christian, in Cyrano de B., really loved Roxanne; his words should have been enough, but Rox wanted more eloquence. Can we be glad that God doesn't demand eloquence? If you're within the sound of my typewriter, give me a hearty AMEN!
Herr Google informs me that the Steve Martin comedy is indeed fashioned after Cyrano. I hope he knows how to use a sword.
Not sure about a sword, but he's pretty nifty with a lasso - yikes, not sure how to spell it, 'tis not a word I use every day!
I have to chuckle about your wife giving you subtle hints........... love it, and you know, I think it's great when we can recognise in ourselves that we may be talking too much or too little.
AMEN to your last sentence.
Yer ra't awn, Ma'am, "lasso" is how ya spell it, at least on a hypewriter.
Role? Far too often are the times I've taken myself far too seriously about things that really only occur to me. I step back and realize that beyond the fact that I'm playing the electric guitar, most of our congregation doesn't pay attention to any details about tone, equipment, effects, ambience, or even what notes I'm playing. Anything beyond strummed acoustic is foreign to many of them, so everything I try is new to them. The best compliment I've ever received was from Pastor Steve, who said after I took a Sunday off, "You know, we miss you when you're not here. You have a full sound that fills in the holes in our songs." Then I realize that while few pay attention specifically to what I'm playing, they notice that the band sounds really nice today and they're motivated to sing louder. Is that a role?
Whether in ensemble or solo, a musician just can't know how others perceive or feel the music. I just watched a video of Sviatoslav Richter, a world-renowned pianist, with commentary by Glenn Gould (another world-renowned pianist). Gould came to a concert prepared to be bored by a piece by Schubert he didn't care for, slow, repetitious, and Richter played it even slower - but somewhere in the "hypnotic trance" Gould discovered the beauty of the piece, and began to wax and wax over the great pianist who changed his mind about Schubert. Richter came on the video next, saying, "Nonsense" (in Russian, with English subtitle)." Richter has a simple philosophy, to focus everything on the music. "If I like the music, the audience will", and stubbornly resisted any attempt to focus glory on himself. His role in life is to make good music, period.
Here I'm using the word "role" in the sense of a body part, a la 1 Corinthians 12. "You have a full sound that fills in the holes in our songs." We had a marimba player, Carmen, in a large church orchestra a number of years ago (yes, Carmen Marimba!). We had piano, full-sized organ, violins, big drum set, brass -- but when Carmen was not there, you could feel the difference; there was something not quite as vital in the rhythm, and definitely not as full.
I myself performed the "role" of hole-filler when a very loud electric guitarist joined our worship band. His dynamism was amazing, and soon even the relaxed acoustic guy would join in at the end of a song, jumping in the air, then Ka-WHOOOMP!! . . . ba-de-DUP! (drum conclusion). At first, I wondered what value I had anymore; then I began to discover I didn't need to lead anymore -- I could do those obbligattos and tone-shaping and invent new fills and all of the things I couldn't do while trying to go whang whang whang like an electric on my keyboard.
What you are doing is indeed a role of the most genuine type, beautifully played - not an artifice at all.
I'd say that's the best possible role and a huge compliment.
I very often feel inadequate when people are doing fancy things on their guitars, and was shocked once when I was chosen to join the worship team for a big weekend event. I sort of questioned it, as some of the musicians were way superior to me, and the organiser told me that I was the glue that held it together. Hope you can accept and believe this, but the Lord once told me that it was my job to make others sound good!
I am not a song writer yet, but as Senior Pastor I write sermons every week, I offten get to thinking that many sentinces I speak could be turned into a song, I just don't have the time yet to do that so we play all songs already writen by someone else but almost always put my own twist to it, sometimes because I am not talented enough to play it the way the writer intended it but I always seem to get compliments on how good we do. As a Pastor I tend to give some short words during worship or my wife will give a word or a prophecy. I know my "role" is to lead the congregation into Worship, and then of course give the Word in a meaningfull way so that people will leave closer to Gos than when they came in and hopefully become doers ofthe Word. I think you are right in that part of that is getting the rest of the congregation to a point where they can pray or speak more than just a few one liners to or about our Lord.
I am by no means a profesional musician or even a trained Worship Leader except by God, I am an Ordained Pastor who has to lead worship for lack of someone else to do it, I love leading and I think the best reward is when a member comes back from vacation and has visited a large churce with a big worship band and tell us that we sound better and somehow fuller with just 2 singers one guitar and one drumer and a part time bass player.
I guess I'm giving a long answer to say that God uses each of us to bring about the results He wants, regardless of number or profesional training.
I just love the way the Lord can use the weak to lead the strong!!!!
1. Does the writer intend for you to play it his way? I would freak if someone played my songs my way. I would ask, "why?" Few things make a writer happier than to know their song is pliable and friable, that people can put their twist to it and give it greater reach.
2. You are already preaching music (sentences that could be turned into a song). Wow!
3. The nature of the very large church makes it impossible to have the sort of intimacy between musician and congregant that is beautiful in the small church. The images on their screens may create atmospheres of intimacy or wonder or various other worship-related emotions, but in the music that "missing part" may be noticeable to a visitor from a small church, even if the musicians, between themselves, feel the fullness and goodness of God.
4. The songs that are within you could be developed into actual sung songs; but as you note "where's the time?" You recognize that deciding what "stub" of a song can be built into a full song, and then learning the craft of making songs takes time (after all, when you preach, you actually take classes and have people grill you on the subject matter and all that, and goodness knows, there are enough songs out on the airwaves that could have used a longer hitch in the hatchery before being released). But the day may come when you'll turn the Free Sound Recorder on your computer, just while sitting at your desk, and sing your thoughts into it, and then you'll be hooked, and then you'll find the time.
5. Or, you may just remain happy with other folks making the lyrics and the tunes. Even songwriters use mostly others' materials. How many pieces by Rubenstein did Rubenstein play? He played Beethoven, Bach, Shostakovich and lots of other guys we can't pronounce. Maybe one of his own songs on a concert.
Thanks, Greg, good points and an encouargment.