Noticings – August 16, 2023

New Things
“It will take many hours to get there.”

Over the last year or so I’ve been working very hard on my guitar playing, especially what is called ‘lead guitar’ playing, which is playing solos and riffs up the neck of the guitar – all that fancy stuff. I’ve always been more of a ‘rhythm’ player, so playing ‘lead’ is a new venture. I have invested many hours rehearsing, practicing, learning, and I’ve become pretty decent at it.

Long-time readers of Noticings may remember that a couple of years ago I wrote about jamming with some people as I was trying to find a band to join. You may also recall that as I did so I promptly got Covid at one of the jams, which kind of turned me off venturing out for a while! I’ve left my bio up on a musicians’ website for people seeking to join up with others. Yes, it’s much like computer dating! Well, someone contacted me a couple of weeks ago to come and jam with their country band, as the lead guitarist. Country is not my favourite music, but I do listen to it often. I could do without some of the twang, and the constant beer references by the ‘bros’, but I love the guitar sounds. So I said ‘yes’.

As it turned out, the date happened to land on the same Sunday that we did our ‘all praise music’ worship at Faith United. So I had a praise band experience in the morning, and then went and played country in the afternoon. It was a supremely stressful weekend because the praise band hadn’t played together for over 3 years, and we weren’t sure all the equipment would work – and, I’m actually very much an introvert, so leaping into meeting these country guys, new people and a new role, was a lot.

But I did it! I can’t remember a day that I’ve played so much guitar. It was awesome! And I was very pleased that I was able to be the lead guitar player pretty effectively. I even surprised myself at some of the licks that came out of my fingers. Unfortunately, the band is just too far away for me to commit to joining them, so I won’t be continuing.

I’ve been playing guitar for over 40 years, and I’ve just learned a brand new skill and way to play. It took a lot of hours to get there, but now I have a whole new set of ways to express myself in music.

I’m thinking our faith life should be like that too. Many of us have been at it for many decades, doing our thing, doing it well, contributing, offering our gifts and resources. But it’s time for us to learn a bunch of new things, and discover new ways to express our faith. Like my guitar playing, it will take many hours to grow these new skills and ways. Unlike my guitar playing, I don’t have a clear picture of what the goal is – I just know that now is the time for us to be doing the work of learning, and growing new stuff.

There was nothing wrong with my previous guitar chops – I just had a yearning to do more, to be able to express my musicianship in new ways. There’s nothing wrong with your faith life, or discipleship either. But the future of the church depends on us all (yes, all) trying and doing new things. What might yours be? I hope you’ll prayerfully look for God’s nudge, and when you feel it…start practicing!

(Click here for a video version of Noticings)