A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dave's Deep Thoughts - When You're In the No Fly Zone

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

It has been said “If everyone would start the day off singing,
just think how much happier the world would be.”

In my case, I just doubled the joy.

Only wedding singers will understand this.
There is something about singing at a wedding
that can be very frustrating.

Maybe it’s because it is a captive audience,
most of whom do not come to hear the singer.

While singing pre-service music for weddings,
I have seen people roll their eyes,
take a nap,
turn their heads to see who was in attendance,
and worst of all,
carry on loud conversations.

It’s enough to make this troubadour feel insignificant,
like the guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty  on the sidewalk
trying in vain to get you to come inside to do your taxes.

Recently I was asked to sing at a wedding,
a wedding where I knew many of the people.
I was hoping because of familiarity, things would be different.

I picked out my best suit,
ironed my shirt……
I might have even combed my hair.

It was an unusual space in which to sing.
The pianist was in the rear of the sanctuary
which placed her about 70 feet away from me.

I had two songs to sing.
I sang them with great expression
as I sought to make eye contact with everyone in the audience.

It was working.
People were not distracted.
They were focused.
Many, including people I did not know, smiled at me.

I returned to the rear of the sanctuary
and sat down next to the pianist.

“I thought that went really well,’” I said.

Without hesitation, she said,
“Your fly is down.”

My sense of fulfillment popped 
like a balloon in a pin factory.

“Do you think anyone noticed?” I asked.
She only glanced at me.
Sometimes words are just not necessary.

Sitting in embarrassment through the “I do’s” was bad enough.
The reception was worse.

During the hors d’oeuvres, I heard
“I’m sorry, this is a no fly zone.”

While the main entrée was served,
“Sir, you need to bring your tray table to the upright
and locked position.”

As the couple cut the cake,
“Looks like you’ve got a security breach at Los Pantalones.”

And as the bridal bouquet was thrown,
“I see you’ve got Windows on your laptop.”

Even a groomsman walking by whistled “Zippity Doo Dah”

and these were my friends.

There are days when you do the best you can,
and it is just not enough.

Parents have days like that.
Employees dread workdays like that.
And wedding singers sing their hearts out,
only to fall short.

The world in which we live
doesn’t give much leeway to falling short.
The world gauges success based on absolute performance
whether it be an athlete, a tax accountant, or a factory worker.

God’s economy is different.
Only He knows the full extent of what each person is handling.

From a worldly perspective, 
the prophet Jeremiah was a failure.
Though he preached faithfully and did everything God asked of him,
his life’s work failed to produce a single convert.

But Biblical success is all about faithfulness to God.
Jeremiah was a success because he remained faithful to God’s calling on his life.

People aren’t created to please people,
they are created to please God.
And He is ALREADY pleased with those who are doing
the most they can with their time and resources.

It doesn’t matter if those around you think you are incompetent or scatterbrained.
God knows who you are. 
And HE couldn’t possibly love you more.

Three weeks later I received a thank you from the bridal couple.
The bride said she was able to hear the songs from her preparatory room,
and the music calmed her spirit as she prepared for the biggest moment of her life.
They were extremely grateful.

And that’s how God is.
He sees the whole picture.
And when He sees His child being faithful,
it is enough.

As for me,
let me walk in grace,
and also in front of a full length mirror.

 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

                                                                                                         2 Corinthians 12:9

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