Sunday, October 16, 2016
October 16, 2016 Sometimes it's just not there. While eating breakfast at our son Matthew's home this morning, I received a text message from his brother asking if I could fill in on bass for worship. Not having time to go home to get my upright, I headed straight to church. The church bass would have to do. It was interesting playing electric bass again. For the most part, it's much easier than upright, but easier means it's tempting to try some runs and riffs that would be impossible for me on the upright. Yielding to temptation, I went beyond the foundational stuff to add a bit of interest to the bass lines. Unfortunately, I missed plenty of notes in the process. I don't know how much of it was noticeable to the congregation, but I knew it. I wasn't trying to show off; Lord knows I'm too much of a novice to do that. It was however, a learning experience. The Bible tells us that it's a virtue to cover the sins of a brother. It's not talking about a cover up as we often think of it. When it extols this virtue, it's not sweeping sins under the rug. Hiding our sins never leads to anything good. But when we stand by one another in spite of a brother or sister's failures, we cover for them, supporting each other, knowing that there are times we ourselves need that same support. The rest of the band covered for me this morning. I made plenty of mistakes, but instead of looking scornfully at me when that happened, they just kept on playing and singing, honoring the Lord. We cover for each other, not in order to excuse each other, but to support the ministry of the whole. There will always be time to work on the details, to improve my part in the mix; and I will do so. I require it of myself, and my fellow band members deserve it. But this morning, we were a team, and they covered for me. That's how it should be in the body of Christ. In the Bible, the Hebrew word for atonement literally means "covering." In Christ, God has us covered. Our sins are real, but he covers them through the blood of Christ. He doesn't excuse them; he covers them so we can approach the Holy One with confidence. Similarly, we don't cover each other's sins as a way of avoiding scrutiny, but in holding one another accountable, we also hold each other up so we can approach God together as one body in Christ. It's the way it should be, and I am grateful today for those alongside whom I serve; for their graciousness to me even as we pursue excellence in our ministry together. May it be so in all of our life together.