Today, Temple and I had the pleasure performing “The Lord’s Prayer” as part of a special worship service that was put together by Christian artist, singer and writer Steve Green. We performed at the beginning of the service and then listened as Steve led a beautiful worship service, focusing on The Lord’s Prayer.
During his set, Steve sang a beautiful hymn, a cappella. It is hard to describe in words how powerful it was. He sang with clarity and passion, modulating to different keys, and finally ending with a soaring, operatic flourish that left us all breathless. One voice, sung from the heart with skill and passion. It was a very moving experience for all of us, leaving even tough guy middle-aged guys like me tearful.
It reminded me of another time that one voice was the key. Several years ago one of Temple’s grandparents passed away and she was asked to sing at the funeral. She and I planned to do an arrangement of “Beulah Land” that I had written. It is an arrangement that I am proud of, in that I tried to re-cast the song with some really beautiful chords, keeping the melody but putting it against a different harmonic background.
The day of the funeral, I was in Atlanta on business and was going to meet Temple in Southeast Tennessee, where her family is from, for the service. We would perform as a duo and I could share my new arrangement of this beautiful song with Temple’s family, many of whom are musicians and music lovers. I also looked forward to being there for Temple, as it was a very hard day for her. She was close with all of her grandparents.
As I tried to leave Atlanta, the inevitable happened. Traffic. Atlanta Big Time Make You Crazy traffic. I should have expected it, having lived there for several years. I was at a standstill. After clearing Atlanta much later than expected, I drove like a scalded cat through North Georgia, trying to get to the service on time. It did not look like I would make it.
I got there right after the service started. Temple was onstage, on her own.
At the appointed time, she stood up and sang “Beulah Land” a cappella, and it was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced through music. Her voice, in that funeral home, with her family all there in mourning, carrying that old melody about a wonderful hereafter just un-did me completely. I stood there listening with tears streaming down my face. It was exactly what was needed at that moment, for that family.
And the Spirit was moving through each word that she sang.
My fancy chords and pride would have just gotten in the way of what God needed that moment to be.
I was glad that I was late. She didn’t need me that day. God needed Temple to use a very special gift that He gave her. Her voice and nothing else. It’s amazing how God sometimes uses the simplest things, rather than our crazy constructs and plans, to be the most effective vision of His love.
One voice is all we have, but sometimes it is all that we need.