Missing a Good Sing Song

I never thought I’d say it; but I caught myself singing along enthusiastically to the worships songs a few weeks ago. Up until then I had always sung the songs half-heartedly, being very conscious of what they say and that I simply don’t subscribe to those beliefs anymore.

It happened because I relaxed. The congregation were singing along, as per normal, and I was half mouthing, half singing, as quietly as I could get away with. Then suddenly along came a song I knew well and off I went. I don’t recall how far I got before realising what I was doing, but when I did I found myself mentally chastising myself for being weak. I was almost embarrassed.

What surprised me most was how I reacted to this little slip. It was almost as though I had done something wrong. Oh what a reversal of attitude!

Regarding Worship

As a Christian, worship was always important and, despite my less than perfect singing voice, I did enjoy singing songs and entering into a spirit of worship while doing so. In my mind, the act of singing in Church and the experience of worship are entwined. One shall not and cannot separate them.

So with this mind-set, it is hardly surprising that I don’t want to blindly worship and entity I don’t believe in. That would be silly.

Thinking about it afterwards though, it also seems silly getting worked up over what is really just a joyful sing song. Should I care what the songs are about? How is it different to appreciating music on the radio, which will on occasion contain lyrics that I disapprove of as well? It can only be because of the association I have with singing in Church and worship.

That was four weeks ago and I’ve not been back since. The not being back is unrelated to the event in question; it has just happened that way, a combination of it being convenient for me to stay at home because of stuff to do, mainly because I have to work.

We’ll see how I progress on this one, I have more or less told myself that its okay to join in the singing even if I struggle with the lyrics. I fully expect the mental link there to struggle. However, I’m really not going to give myself a heart attack by joining in, so why get so bothered by it?

Would you like to Operate the Projector?

Oh dear. I’ve been wondering when this question would come, and unfortunately it has come much sooner than I would have liked.

First Some Background

Like many churches in the UK, our current church and our last church have joined the revolution and now project the words to songs on a screen using a computer and digital projector. This has a distinct advantage over using acetate in that presentations, images and videos can also be projected using the same equipment.

In our last church I was one of the regular projector operators and being computer literate I had an advantage over the other people on the OHP rota in that the technology didn’t intimidate me and I knew exactly what I was doing and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) mess things up by guessing or doing random stuff for the sake of it. It also helped that my wife leads worship occasionally and so I have an understanding of the needs of the worship leader and what the projector operator should or shouldn’t do to make the worship leader’s life easier.

So with these two advantages, it is safe to say that I was pretty much the favoured projector operator in our last church. It wasn’t unusual for the pastor to beam widely when he saw that it was me on duty.

Back to the Present

I dropped off the rota several months before we moved because I didn’t want to do it anymore. With our move I am very happy not having the responsibility and still don’t want it. With our new church duly informed (by our last church as part of membership transfer) that my wife and I make a good worship leading and projector operating combo; I knew that the inevitable question would be asked. I just hoped it would not be this soon.

The reasons for me being asked are legitimate, two people have dropped off the rota in the last week. One because he turned 80 and had always said he would stop at that age, another due to a much more conservative stance and simply not liking some of the worship changes. Apparently a hymn should be sung as it is written and thou shalt not change it about. Who said that a hymn had the same importance as the biblical word? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post, so best not get distracted.

How can I say No?

I don’t think I can really. The church has a need and I am very much one of the best qualified people to do it. Its my gift if you like. The pastor knows my faith position (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/the-coming-out-begins/) and so he obviously has no issue with me doing the job, so he asked me if I would consider it.

I did tell him that in all honesty I was hoping not to have to get involved, but that I would think about it.

In discussing it with my wife later she suggested that I might like doing it because it would mean I could legitimately hide away from the rest of the congregation (the operator sits alone up in the balcony at the back of the church) and not have to worry about pretending anything or being uncomfortable. That was a genuinely thoughtful suggestion and I hadn’t considered it, however I didn’t really like that as a motive for doing it. It feels false an insincere to use that as a motive for operating the projector.

However, given my state of faith, how could any motive be pure and Christian? That’s probably a question best left alone I think.

So I think I’m going to have to do it.

I don’t see any way round it, the church has a need, and I am a very good fit. My doing it will have a positive impact on the worship in the church and since my wife is now getting involved in worship leading I will be directly helping her. Atheist objections aside, I just don’t see how I can refuse and saying “I really don’t want to” seems to be somehow weak and petty, even though I know I won’t be viewed negatively for not doing it.