Today was one of my favourite kind of work-days.
Because amidst the pile of management-type-tasks that I have waiting on my desk to complete in the next 10 days, this afternoon I got to simply hang out with my young people. And remember the reason that I do the management-type-tasks. And the reason that I love this kind of work so much.
Because I really do love youth work.
Today, I was primarily supporting young people to attend a variety of different appointments. Some less serious, some more serious. But it definitely meant some driving about.
And driving about in my car means a few things. Regardless of the seriousness of the appointments.
(It's very well know to mean a few things…)
Namely, music playing, always loud. Singing along, always louder. And dancing about, always a lot of fun.
Some of my favourite youth-work moments actually happen singing-along to cheesy music on road-trips. Because the thing is, no matter how bad the circumstance, or how scary the appointment, a bit of in-car-karaoke is always a mood lifter.
I've had the most image-conscious teenage boys crumble into laughter through getting a lift to the hospital. Or seen the crying young woman start to genuinely smile under the influence of a bit of pop music. Or had a group of argumentative young adults begin to share an in-joke that lasts years.
Why? Well, I think music is important. And I think laughter is important. And I think that being able to be feel comfortable enough to sing and look-a-little-bit-silly with others is important.
And I think God can use it. In big ways.
The thing is, singing plays quite a big role in the Bible. Especially in the Old Testament, songs of celebration mark Israel's victories and their worship of Yahweh. They sang. They played instruments. They shouted. They danced. And not timidly, but boldly. And corporately.
And God delighted in their song.
Freedom came through their song.
Joy came through their song.
Other than a few particularly cheesy classics, I don't own much secular music. So my playlists are generally a selection of eclectic Christian music. Fun, loud, rapping, joyful, plentiful Christian music. With God-glorifying lyrics.
Because I also believe that singing the Truth has a huge impact.
It plants the seeds that Holy Spirit can water.
I remember one of my young people coming to a number of church events week after week. She hadn't made a commitment to Jesus. She was still wrestling through her questions and what she believed. But when she came, she liked to sing along with the worship songs. She wasn't mocking. She was genuinely searching. And she came, week after week, and sang truth. And in conversations with her after every event, I used to talk things through with this young woman. And I would often joke, that if she kept singing truth about God then she might just one day find it all made sense.
The thing is, a month later… At the end of one of those conversations, Holy Spirit working, with tears streaming down her face, it finally did.
And I really believe that God using those songs was a big part of the journey.
When I was playing live music for a community group in Osaka this summer, I was hit afresh by this. Because none of this group were Christians. But when they came up to me at the end of the evening, the conversations began with, 'We don't know why, but we feel like your music heals us…' And I had been singing songs I had written in English, and was then talking about the meaning with a translator. But Holy Spirit was working… In the music. And in the conversations that followed about Jesus. And in the opportunities for prayer that opened up in the rest of the evening.
I love music. I love how God can use it. I love that He created it. And I love that as we sing to Him, He sings back over His children.
And today, has been a day of song, good conversation… And some serious laughter.
See… Secretly just another reason I wish my life could be a Disney movie… 😉
Oh, and other breaking-geek news is that my Mr Spock t-shirt arrived today. And my Mario t-shirt. It's really been a good day… 🙂