Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grace Cemented, Glory Revealed

Leading worship with my brother last night was remarkable. So many things combined to create a powerful time of community. Much of it was personal, unique to me; but we were together in community, and I am reminded every time that when God's people gather, something happens.

It's one of the greatest ongoing surprises of faith, this Mystery that shows up. Beyond what we offer and who we are, something essential is formed in our togetherness that is unmatched.

For me, combining the spiritual depth of the gathering with the family present, it was likely one of my favorite moments. Maybe ever. Certainly of this year.

I won't forget.

The band shared communion backstage, before we went out to play. I held the cups and bread on a broken wooden table top and said a few words; the correlation between the intimacy of making music together and the bond of the ties that bind us as believers was paramount in my mind. And, of course, there was my brother, my husband, the bond of family...

We both came to true faith in Christ in our twenties. I will never forget standing next to him at one of the first Passion events - Fort Worth, Texas, 1999. I heard "Agnus Dei" for the first time, sang at the top of my lungs to a Father whose love embraced me in raw, electric, all-encompassing passion. My brother, with whom I had plowed through Methodist hymns week after week in the small churches of our childhood; now we stood in truth, all of the training and preparation of our spiritual education come to fruition. Our harmony was true and clear.

Fourteen years later, we sang an Emmylou song and we inhabited the Apostles' Creed, declaring the power of the faith by which we stand, in harmony, and the truth was cemented, grounded, established, lifted up. Our children stood in the front row, singing, cousin harmony blended with lifted hands. Our parents stood in the center section and worshiped the God who left a trail for them to follow some forty (or fifty) years ago. Even my kids' dad, whose history is bound up in the memories of the unfolding of our lives; he was in the room, singing.

Time goes on, moments slip by, grace is cemented and glory is revealed.  Through it all, God goes before us, wraps the truth of history behind us and settles us in our present moments.

My brother is a gifted musician who has worked diligently to craft his talent into an offering worth of the One who bestowed it upon him. His presence in our community helped usher us into a meaningful, powerful time with God last night.

Several people asked, so: Eric played on this record with Matt Redman in 2003; it's an incredible outpouring of worship, filled with several songs that have become staples in churches in the last several years.

You can hear his original music with Maida Vale here and here; two of my favorite records, with no bias whatsoever. Excellent music.

He currently serves at E3 in Tallahassee; you can find links to his teaching here.

Eric writes here; as talented as he is with a guitar, his words are often profound and challenging.

He has done a lot and he is an amazing person. His wife is a joy and his children are incredible.

But bottom line: He's a child of the King. He is the son of Clyde and Peggy Case.

And he's my baby brother.


Brandee Shafer said...

Nothing in the world like a Jesus-loving, sister-loving brother.

Lori said...

What Brandee said, doubled over times two!