I got a phone call from this guy, Jazz, yesterday that I have to tell you about. He left me a message that went a little something like this. "KATIE CARRINGER! I was in church when you called...we started at 2:00 and worshipped for 2 hours! I had to leave early at 4:00, and the praise was just ending! IT WAS AWESOME!!!" What a great message...seriously.
Jazz leads worship at Montreat College's FCA every Sunday night. Well, let me rephrase that. Jazz is the lead worshipper at Montreat College's FCA every Sunday night. He sits at the piano, closes his eyes, and what happens next is the closest thing to magic that I've ever experienced. With a gentleness that belies his "other" career as a baller for Montreat, he plays, and with great humility and honesty, he sings, and with sincere passion, he worships a God so far from himself, yet so close that this desire to join in worship invades the room, like a thick fog that each person fearlessly loses themselves in.
Jazz gets it. He gets that the Lord is far bigger than even the biggest idea our minds can consider. He gets that bringing honest worship to the Lord means coming as himself, without pretext or pride or position. He gets that worship doesn't begin with the first note of a song but is everything leading up to that and everything extending past the final chord. Jazz gets it, and its contagious. When a guy like Jazz--who has every right to kind of consider himself "the man"--can come before the Lord and publically ask God to purify his heart, that is humility. When he can say that the Lord is his heart's one desire, that is love. When his face is alight with the glory of the Lord, that is authenticity. When he can sing at the top of his lungs, "High King of heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven's joy, O bright heaven's Son, heart of my own heart whatever befall, still be my vision O Ruler of all," that is passion.
And its catching...
Its a passion that somehow connects the desire of a person's heart to the reality and promise found in Jesus. Its a passion that is sweet--that stays on the tip of your tongue long after a meal ends. Though it doesn't ignore emotion, its something far greater that embraces and then transcends a feeling. It comes close to satisfying, but always leaves you wanting more because it reveals that there is more to be had. This is a passion that will effect change, that will help restore the reputation of God, that will move the church forward into all her glory. Its a passion that is so far removed from a person's own name, renown, and reputation that is can only be a passion imparted by the Lord's great grace.
So my prayer today is that God would grant a great number of people such grace, that they might discover a passion for Him second to none and totally unique to them individually--an "authentic passion," I reckon, is a good name for that. And I pray, too, that the Lord would use this passion--this willingness to represent even unto death--to bring His kingdom to earth. That He would help us to love mercy, to do justly, and to walk humbly with Him for His name's sake and for the good of all people.