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The most significant time of worship in my life didn’t happen in a church—I expect that might be true for many people. It wasn’t singing “More Precious Than Silver” at Vespers in the woods at GA camp, although that might be a close second. It wasn’t the missions service in 4th grade where I felt a strong call to the mission field. It wasn’t performing “Worlds Apart” during my time as a summer missionary after my freshman year of college, although that was indeed intense and powerful.
For me, that time of worship took place in VanNess Auditorium at LifeWay Christian Resources, where I had the privilege of working for five years.
I didn’t usually sing in the LifeWay choir, but they assembled a special choir to perform some pieces from 3:16 The Musical, based on Max Lucado’s book 3:16 and the accompanying Bible study we were putting together. For several weeks, I attended practices during lunchtime, adding my little second soprano to their normal mix. I’m not very good at reading music, but I love singing and I found these selections especially moving.
The morning dawned … icily. I think I was supposed to be at work for practice at 6:45, and I wasn’t even sure I would be able to get through the ice to my car. I recall frantically scraping and dousing with water. (We Tennesseans don’t handle snow and ice gracefully.)
But I made it. And so did a couple hundred other LifeWay employees. A much higher percentage than usual chapel attendance, perhaps influenced by the fact that the music was led by Travis Cottrell and the narration was done by Max Lucado himself.
There is a movement in one of the pieces incorporating “Man of Sorrows” (it starts about 3:37 in this video of the song). Something about the lyrics and instrumentation choked me up every time we practiced, and the day of the chapel service, tears poured down my face as I tried to sing.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Friend!
I just listened to that YouTube video and it had the same effect.
When the song was over, every person in the auditorium was on their feet clapping. For Jesus. It was the closest to heaven I have ever felt on earth.
I am sure the teeny, tiny baby that was in my belly jumped for joy as she felt the Spirit move. Even I didn’t know she was there yet. I had waited for her for a long time, and God brought her at the perfect time for us.
Hallelujah, what a Savior. What a friend.