There's a board for every bottom...

As I was hustling about with errands today, getting ready for our time away, I kept thinking about three things that happened during worship:

~ First, my little buddy Ethan, who enter middle school next year, sat in on ALL the guitar hymns with our band.  We played 7 selections - plus 2 presentation songs (Collective Soul's "Shine" and Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe") and Ethan played them all.  We just moved him to where he could see my hands and he comped liked a pro.  What a treasure to be in relationship with a young guy who wants to share his best with his friends and church.

~ Second, during the passing of the peace, another little dude, Colin, greeted me and then said, "You know, I can play the Kyrie?"  And I'd forgotten that he'd learned it on piano so I told him, "Ok, man, after my announcements you can do it - and he DID - all the blues notes and jazz timing was spot on!

~ And third, our band itself was so connected and committed yesterday.  This is a stunning group of musicians who always bring 110% to worship, but Sunday felt special - it felt like we were all grooving together at a deep, deep level beyond words - and it was soul food for me.

Then tonight, Andy and Sue stopped by to give us a "bon voyage" birthday treat - it is our 50/60 birthday this coming weekend - and the blessing and affection we all share was palpable.  So as I was watching the closing episode of Ken Burns' documentary, "Jazz," I heard this quote about Louis Armstrong that made me weep:  "He was a man on a mission of spreading joy to the world - it was his gift from God - and I can't think of a better calling in life than to spread joy to people." 

Marsalis went on to say something like: My great, grandma used to say, "There's a board for every bottom!" That means, in life there is going to be pain that is going to hurt you deep. That's just how life is - and there's a board made to exactly fit your bottom - and thing about Louis Armstrong was that he knew that - but he was there to smile with you afterwards and say, "That's ok, son, it's gonna be alright."

Man that is how I think of ministry - spreading and sharing joy - and after 30 years of doing it THAT is how I hope to be remembered.  I don't really care if people like my sermons. It doesn't ultimately matter whether they think of me as a person of justice or sound teaching or all the rest. No, seeing the enthusiasm and hope in the eyes of our young people - and experiencing the sweet music my mates created in song and prayer - that's what this gig is all about.

And while the Lord knows I'm not nearly as good at it as "Pops" - he was beatific - that's what I aspire towards: spreading joy.  On this night before some down time in the great North, I am grateful that I was able to experience some of the fruit of that joy on Sunday.  And now... road trip!


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