During our LG a few Saturdays ago, the question for our reflection was about the time when we had an encounter with God or with Jesus, and we were asked how the encounter changed us. I have always believed that we can encounter God anywhere and anytime, but that time, for me, it was very much apparent from what happened the day before.
See, the Friday before that, there was an earthquake and a couple of aftershocks in my part of the world. I have shared a separate entry about it, because it somehow stressed me out my wits, but definitely stretched my faith, and in this one, I share with you how it actually did, and how the encounter with God was a shake.
Fridays are worship team practices for the Feast Bellevue AM Music Ministry. We hold our practices in the Feast Center in Festival Mall Alabang. I was really looking forward to this practice because honestly, I was struggling spiritually almost the entire week. Even if we have already posted our song line up early, I felt that my “call” to collaborate with the Worship team was ignored. I was hoping the practice would also be a discussion for that.
Anyway, so that time, I was early in the mall with my little family because we went straight there after my daughter’s play school session. We stayed in a coffee shop while waiting for the time when practice starts. My husband needed to do some work remotely, and I needed to do groceries. A few hours before that, there was already an earthquake, that one time, while in the coffee shop, my hubby felt an aftershock. We didn’t feel the earthquake because we were in a moving vehicle during the time it happened.
We still stayed inside the coffee shop and didn’t feel like anything was wrong, until I decided to finally proceed with my grocery shopping.
I noticed some shops were closed, and that was odd because it was barely 7pm. I saw from our Worship Team group chat that one of the members was already in the mall, but was sent out due to some evacuation going on. Apparently, people inside the mall were being asked to go out to the nearest exits, as they secure the safety of the building. Perhaps stemming from the several aftershocks that happened, the Mall admin wanted their patrons and tenants out of the building and out to safer areas.
Then the dilemma of whether to push through with the practice or reschedule it surfaced. I wanted to reschedule, as most of the team aren’t in the mall yet anyway, so they wouldn’t need to leave the safety of their homes. But some members were no longer available the following day due to prior commitments.
I was super stressed by the predicament that it led to me panicking in our messenger group chat. I may have said some things that may have offended people. But I was very much aware that I had to ask God what the purpose was.
I was prepared to leave the mall because we were already being asked to go out of the coffee shop we were staying in. We were walking towards our car in the parking lot when I heard from the radio of the guards we passed that it’s already safe to go back inside the mall. I updated our group chat about it, and went in to check the Feast Center.
Panicked me almost canceled our practice after discovering that the Feast Center was closed, and the caretakers had already gone home. I was conflicted about staying and going home. But we decided to just meet and discuss what we’ll do on Sunday.
We settled on gathering at the same coffee shop that my family were in earlier. But before going there, we ate dinner at another nearby cafe. Our musical director met with me there, and it really helped that he was calm while I was almost at my wits end. We initially discussed, and he told that he could meet the rest of the team first while I finish dinner.
I reminded myself of our worship song line up: Let Go – Hillsong Young & Free, Stretched Wide – Feast Worship, and Thank You Jesus – Hillsong Worship. The entire week, I was repeating this message inside my head: You let go and let God, and just be ready to receive that love with arms stretched out, and be grateful for that grace to God. Never did I imagine that I would put it to hard action that day.
Then I was also reminded by this verse:
“and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.”
2 Cor 12:9 | The Message
When I joined the team, I felt a little guilty about the earlier messages in the chat that I just had to apologize, and make up for it with some cinnamon buns and ensaymada. I tried to prep and amp them, that come Sunday, it will all be God’s work.
Having Friday practices was a comfort zone, so not having one was definitely a step towards the courage zone, and further into God’s zone, where we let go of everything and just let God do His work.
I asked them to share their thoughts and reflections about the song line up, and it was apparent, especially with what just happened, that we had to let go of our fears, worries and anxieties, and really let God take over. Most of us felt this coming into that day, with concerns at work, at school, at home. And as one put it, we were all shaken by the earthquake and the aftershocks that day, and it was a shake that reminded us to go back to the Father for that peace and calm.
We have all done our part. We practiced individually. We have let go of our preoccupations over mic tests, soundchecks, and voice parts. Come Sunday, we were ready to just let God take over everything.
I guess you knew what happened right?
Well, our band members were very much committed to start the soundcheck a.k.a. worship practice together, as early as 6:00, but I guess the personnel handling set up weren’t in tune. It was like God stretching our faiths further, right?
When we planned to have a run through of all the songs at one go, there was the dance ministry requesting another round of the fast song, the first song they had to do, taking up time for the other songs, right? Stretching still our faith in the time constraint.
My co-worship leader was late. Hahaha! Definitely a stretch of patience. Peace D!
After the soundcheck/practice, I had to gather them for a short prayer before the Mass team had their soundcheck. I must have prayed long because the Mass team proceeded to the entrance song for the Mass. Yikes!
So we had nothing left to do but “brag” that we didn’t have practice, and that the Worship will be all God’s work. See for yourself at this live streaming/recording of our session. (and stay until the talk, okay?)
That right there, was all of God’s work. We were merely instruments. But that’s all Him. Definitely. And I’m hoping you have encountered Him even by just reading this (and hopefully watching the videos).