Waiting For One Another

I am so proud of our congregation.

Yesterday one of our wonderful ten-year-old boys, Avery Caddell, led us during three of our songs. Avery won a gold medal in song leading at last month’s LTC event at DFW. One of Avery’s dreams is to someday be a worship leader in God’s Church. He talks about it a lot. And Lance pretty much decided that someday was yesterday!

And I’m so proud of our congregation.

Lance introduced Avery right at the start, told the church Avery was going to be leading us in three of our songs, and then handed him the reins. (He already had a microphone.) And I was so nervous for him. I was grinning from ear to ear — and not just because Avery and Lance were wearing almost identical striped shirts (coincidentally, I’m told). But because I was nervous. I thought back to my very first times to lead singing, lead prayers, serve on the table, and read Scripture in front of the whole church. Just about at the same age. And I got the butterflies all over again. For Avery.

And I’m so proud of our congregation.

We sang our hearts out with Avery. Our God, He Is Alive! He is our God, the great I AM!

Have I mentioned yet how proud I am of our congregation?

It was during the second song Avery led that I was moved by our church family. See, Avery paused between verses during Our God, He Is Alive. It was just a couple of beats or so, but it was a definite pause. It caught all of us off guard. We didn’t really start the verses together because most of us were singing a very familiar song in a very familiar pattern. But by the second song, He Lives!, we started waiting.

As a congregation. All 858 of us. Together. Waiting for Avery to lead us.

You ask me how I know he lives? He lives…………(breath)…..within…(pause)…my heart.

Beat-one-two-three. Wait.

In all the world around me I see his loving care….

It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was moving.

We weren’t just singing with Avery. We were also singing for Avery.

All 858 of us. I didn’t see a single soul not singing. And not singing loudly. And we were all smiling. Smiling big. And focused on Avery. Really tuned in. Zeroed in singing with and for Avery. And waiting on him.

He’s ten-years-old, right? So of course, without exception, every single person in the room is intent on encouraging Avery, supporting Avery, doing everything in our collective power to make sure Avery’s experience is a good one. There’s not a person in the room who would ever criticize Avery or say anything that might discourage him. The whole church body was determined to lift him up. Oh, we exercised such grace. Such patience. Such love. Such encouragement. Such acceptance. Such….

What if we showed that exact same grace and patience and love and encouragement and acceptance to every brother and sister in our churches? What if we focused on lifting one another up? What if we absolutely refused to ever criticize? Ever? What if we concentrated on encouraging everybody? What if we each totally zeroed in on making sure I worship in a way, and respond to everybody in a way, that guarantees the people around me and up in front have a great experience?

We do it for Avery, we wait on him, because he’s ten-years-old. We support him and encourage him and love him and are patient with him and we shower him with well-deserved praise because he’s ten.

What makes us think the 53-year-old among us doesn’t need and deserve that exact same level of kindness and love? Don’t you believe the 19-year-old and the 61-year-old brothers and sisters in our churches need support? Don’t they need encouragement, too? Aren’t we required to treat every single person the same way we treat Avery? Isn’t it demanded of Christ’s disciples?

I know it’s mostly out of context, but I couldn’t help thinking yesterday and into today about Paul’s admonitions in 1 Corinthians 11. He got on to the church in Corinth because they refused to wait on one another. “Each one of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else.” At the end of the chapter he encourages them, when they come together, to “wait for each other.”

I am so proud of our congregation.

Yesterday we waited on Avery. Today, a lot of us are learning to wait on one another.

Peace,

Allan

2 Comments

  1. Lance

    Avery should’ve lead the whole service! I couldn’t have been more proud of him either. He did awesome!

    By the way….my wife picked that shirt for me the night before. Yes, my wife picked my outfit, and yes I’m ok with that.

    Avery, Allan is just jealous that he didn’t wear a blue striped shirt too. Don’t let him fool you.

  2. Deanna

    It was great to see a young new Christian helping lead the service! Avery did a wonderful job! I would love to see more of the youth used in service. It seems like a great way to teach them to be church leaders – when they are too young to notice or care what people think about them.

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