First things first, we’ve got to give credit where credit is due here … Marcos Witt is now the official good luck charm of the Astros winning critical playoff games. Attendace certainly may have suffered a bit for the big Astros game, but energy level did not. I admit to having a Walkman packed in my bag heading into church. I also admit to checking the reception immediately before service started to see if I could get a score at the start of services (to no avail). But having missed out last weekend due to illness and being a bit under the weather, I wasn’t about to excuse myself from church on this night. Besides, I was nearly racked with anxiety as I watched the previous game unfold. I needed a good distraction. And just for good measure, Marcos did tip us off that we were up 2-0 as he started things off.
Now, I mentioned that the attendance took a bit of a hit from the game. But among the other things I noticed early on was a different look in the orchestra pit. No Cindy, no Israel, most of the musicians I recognize were awol. And the backing choir was down to a svelte 6 singers, where Wednesdays usually have a few more … sometimes double that. First thought was something like “Man, did the choir and band leave to check out the game upstairs?” But then I remembered (and Marcos reminded) that the travelling show was going on in Madison Square Garden. It’s infrequent that such gigs keep the pastoring contingent away from local services, but fear not … Marcos Witt is worth checking out.
Now, musically, I admit to being finicky. I do like Cindy’s style and count myself as a big fan of pretty much anything she does. But I’m also more partial to female vocalists than I am male vocalists … especially for genres that I’m ess familiar with. For instance my country music selection has but a few males in there compared to dozens of female artists. For the heavier rock stuff that I tend to dig the most, males balance out that trend, though. But this night, we had the guy who leads the Spanish worship. Paula, I believe? I’ll need to confirm that sometime. Not bad, even if I did have to get over my internal whining party about Cindy not being there. Second confession is this … the younger guitar player that plays lead on most shows is really growing on me. There’s not a great deal of opportunity for a guitar player to work in a lot of stylistic flurries to impress me in praise music, but this guy (name unknown) manages just enough to demonstrate some real skill. I usually conduct the same fit of whining when he’s absent, as he was this week. But the substitute band had fewer peices. Which meant a healthy surprise … more guitar! And the guy who was in the band wasn’t a slouch himself. Very pleasant surprise, in fact. Of course, all that said … I’ll be happy as a clam if Cindy and the full lineup are back this weekend.
As for the sermon, it’s hard for me to ever do Marcos Witt justice. In fact, I managed to talk myself out of buying the CD of the sermon since I knew there was no way an audio-only version would really paint an adequate picture. Marcos is one heck of an entertainer, and that’s as big an understatement as I can offer.
The message, in it’s simplest form, was one of forgiveness. Entitled “Don’t Embrace the Garbage,” Marcos offers three passages that call on us to not let bitterness take root:
To which, Marcos adds four notes:
1. Don’t embrace the garbage
As only Marcos can do, he went so far as to offer a visual aid by way of a bag of garbage that served as his foil for the entire evening. Sounds corny … but you have to see it to realize the efficiency it lends to the message.
2. Let it slide
In other words, don’t take ourselves so seriously that we let every arrow stick.
3. Turn your “rights” over to Jesus
Perhaps the toughest to follow since we often feel compelled to respond in kind when affronted with something.
4. Follow Jesus’ example
There’s a reference that Marcos makes to Philippians 2:1-11 here, but the easiest to comprehend example was actually drawn from Luke 23:34, depicting Jesus being taunted while on the cross.
That’s the basic recap for now. I wanted to go ahead and put that up while it’s fresh on my mind. I’ll post some more tonight as I reflect on this a bit more. That blasted Astros game stole a bit of concentration immediately after the sermon. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in that regard. Donning the headphones on my way out, more than a few folks asked for a score to the game.