I am a drummer. I’ve played a LOT of places over the years. Different styles of music, different kinds of settings and with a diverse group of musicians and artists. Musicians playing in bars and clubs is an interesting experience! You see things, smell things, taste things…and encounter things…that are well…that’s a whole other post!
I’m also a pastor. That’s my full-time “gig” now. Been at this pastor “gig” for coming up on 20 years! Serving in a church is interesting when it comes to music! The setting I’m in now is a “contemporary” styled church in a very “traditional” styled denomination. I’ll get to that here!
I came to my denomination later in life and as an adult… so when I “joined”, it was obvious to me that I was different. I remember the first time I picked up my denominations hymnal was the first day I visited the seminary I would later attend! Clearly, I was a fish out of water and felt very self-conscious about the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. I was NOT a “system guy” (and it was obvious) and for awhile kept a very low profile…I know it’s sad right? But there can be this “sense” in denominations … a pride that can come when you feel you’re “right” (I’ve since learned this is not universal. There are LOT’S of people in my denomination that are humble, open and outward focused). But, I realized on that day in the chapel at the seminary with 500 guys…singing…that I had just entered another culture…another world…and I didn’t speak the language, didn’t have the pedigree and was clearly an outsider. But I believed we understood the gospel and to me that was my bottom line. My bottom line wasn’t musical “style” anymore. It was the gospel! So, I learned Liturgy, drank deeply of hymnody, learned and appreciated clerical vestments, chanting, incense (still love it btw…) and tried my best to understand. I also did something else….
I packed up my drums.
I literally packed them up and they sat in the closet of my parents house for 7 years! When I finally had a place of my own, I just moved them from my parents closet to my own. There was no place for them in my world anymore. No one was interested in drums in church.
What’s weird is that I had played drums in church! So, clearly there were “some” churches that embraced drums….but not ours….so all those years of practice, lessons, college, studio work, live gigs…it all got shelved.
The other thing about being a pastor is that it’s a busy life. It’s also one of the hardest jobs there is! So, the years slipped by and I was preparing for “ministry”. We did a two-year stint as missionaries in Panama, had kids, finished seminary and moved to our first parish. I was a new dad, a new pastor, still trying to be a good husband and trying to be faithful to my calling….all without…drums…music…those connections. I didn’t ever feel like I had “time” and after all…there were more important things to do than play.
I was soon exhausted!
Music had always been for me a connection. It filled me up. Odd how I gave up something I needed more than I realized. Lately, I’ve realized that because I thought that this part of me didn’t “fit” my context, I had to give it up.
This is one of my regrets.
The thing I believe about God though, is that He can “redeem” things! He can buy back our misguided and twisted understanding and actually give us something in return. It CAN be better!
And lately, it has gotten better…not only because I’m playing more and have discovered a love of restoring old drums…but maybe because I’m discovering the joy of redemption and the re-awakening of music. Here’s an example…
The One That Started It All
I found this old drum set on Craigslist. It was OLD….like 1930's-40’s old…but man, in the fuzzy pictures, it looked cool and the price was OK. So, I convinced my wife and we went and picked it up.
I remember when I first saw it, the guy who was selling it, was somewhat of a collector. But this beast of a kit was in N.E.E.D.! Neglected, dirty, broken, wow! But I looked at it…and saw….what it “could” be rather than what neglect had made it.
You know that’s how God is! He doesn’t see us as we “are”! Not like sin has made us. No, HE sees us as HE designed us…intended us…to be.
Think of that! We are constantly seeing ourselves through our own lens. It’s a lens covered by the dirt and stains of sin. It’s the lens of what everyone else has told us we are (or aren’t).
And that’s what we believe…
But God sees us differently! He sees us as forgiven, free, redeemed and what we were always supposed to be! Why? How can you be sure?
Well, if the scripture is true(and I believe it is btw…), the “blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins” (1 John 1:7). HE sees US…as we were originally to be… “clean”.
That’s called “Redemption”
Q: So how have YOU seen “redemption” in your life? Is there something that you loved…and lost…and found again?
PS: Here’s how it looks today…Redeemed!
Why not share that in the comments…and then share my journey with friends!
In part 2, I’ll continue the journey…hope you’ll come along!