So, the last day of 2017 is on a Sunday and for Christians, this might have been the hardest service to attend for the whole year. Of course, everybody is excited about the New Year. Plus, you need to cook for the medianoche or buy your last purchases for 2017. Who has the time to pray and reflect? New Year’s Eve, after all, is a holiday in its own right.
Perhaps you already know how 2017 went. (duh) But as you might observe, 2017 has been sad, taxing, and wearisome. I would have said this was the worst year but we always say that when every year ends. (Remember 2016?)
My previous posts on this blog have been so negative I myself find them hard to read. I try hard to remove all the negativity that I feel for the whole week every Saturday evening. As I’m preparing to lead worship for NYE, I chanced upon thoughts of what happened in 2017 and sought refuge in the songs to choose for worship.
2017 was a total wreck
I could not count the times that I cried in 2017. I can say almost half of all the heartaches I have experienced in my whole life happened in 2017. We’ve been to health chaos, financial tragedies, and emotional mishaps. I admit I was even so broken that I did not enjoy my Christmas this year.
This is one of the issues of a worship leader that I have found happening with others, too, all around the world. You are breaking but you must brave all of them during worship. It’s awkward to think that you are being remade everytime you lead services but that is just the truth. You find solace in thinking that you have created this emotional connection with your co-worshipers and you lead them to experience a divine phenomenon every time you meet.
But these healing instances could not deny the fact that 2017 was an unfavorable year. Christians would go on and say that every year is the Year of the Lord, denying all zodiac beliefs that abound. However, our years must be broken for us to find the solution to bind us. For us Christians, that would be God. People would have different opinions on this but we live to find the mender of our hearts in our lifetime.
But still, we need to celebrate
Rend Collective is a Christian group from Northern Ireland who is described as a Christian experimental, folk rock, worship band. Their style of worship music is still unheard of in many churches here in the country but thanks to Facebook and Worship Together, I got to hear some of their songs. Their music is refreshing and inspiring (aside from the awesome attires they wear when leading worship).
One of the happy things that happened in 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It is a story of hope and constant change (semper reformanda) that has inspired me for many years. Given the various heartaches, I have encountered during the first half of the year, preparing for the Reformation services was challenging.
But I heard one song from Rend Collective that made my heart jump. We sang it for worship and the people’s reaction to the lyrics were astounding. The first verse has this line:
Praise Him when you’re smiling, praise Him when you’re breaking
Listen to the song for yourself:
But the chorus was more than heart-wrenching. It was totally glorious and draws out this uncontrollable urge to thank God and offer Him everything:
Celebrate, celebrate, shout it from the mountaintops
Celebrate, celebrate, even with a broken heart
I can say I am always relieved of my brokenness everytime I hear and sing this song. And I just decided to sing this with the congregation this New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve is dark, but the shining dawn awaits
2017 might have been depressing and all but the song offers consolation and what man should do to contain himself or herself. The second part of the chorus says:
‘Til dawn awakes we’ll sing Your praise dancing in the dark
For all our days our song will say: Lord, how great You are!
Every sad and hard day is a dark day for us. But it doesn’t mean we couldn’t dance. With morning comes hope and as for me and my family, we choose to sing our song: Lord, how great You are!
God bless you, reader, and have a great New Year 2018!