The Sum of the Parts…

This past week I was recording an album with my band, The Redaction.  Andy (lead singer/guitarist) came up to Rock Hill Sunday evening, and we recorded all day, every day, until the following Thursday.  It was exhausting, physically and even spiritually.  But I glad we did it, and I can’t wait for Jared to lay down drums soon!

This project had a very different feel than anything we have done in the past.  Before, we all lived in the same place, or were getting together on a regular basis to share ideas and play.  But that did not happen this time.  We live in different places, and don’t have the ability to get together often.  So we all wrote songs, put down the ideas somehow, and e-mailed the songs to each other.  Then said if the song was a go or not, and decided which ones to record.

Because we had a very short amount of time, and a TON of work; we had to really think things through, and have a decent plan before setting up a single microphone.  Andy had put a lot of work into the lyrics and themes, and I had been figuring out the best way to capture all of it (Jared by the way has a job that works him all the time, so he wasn’t able to make it, and he was greatly missed, I don’t think an hour went by without Andy or I saying, “I wish Jared was here.”).  While recording our motto was, “Slash and burn, baby.”  We didn’t have the luxury to spend a ton of time choosing sounds, or getting the perfect take.  But one thing we did have going for us was the “Magic Room” at the Wesley Foundation.  The main room has stunning sonic qualities, a nice rich reverb without much tail.  And you can even tune your sound by where you stand in the room.  Magic I tell you.  So things sounded nice.  Also we had complete songs.  Because we had to e-mail them to each other, we took the time to work the songs out, and make them the best we could.  And it paid off.

Also, we didn’t get too caught up with the perfection on a single aspect of a song.  The perfect bend of a guitar string, pluck of the bass, ring to the piano, vocal take. Rather we looked for what was right, and we trusted that when we put the parts together, they will all “be right.”  Because a song is not just about the guitar lick, drum pattern, or whatever (though it may feel like it at the time)- the feeling a song gives the listener is a result of the sum of the parts.  When all the right parts are there is leaves you with some sort of cumulative experience.

Worship is also the experience of the sum of the parts.  The opening music leads into the greeting, then prayer, then…  And at the end of the service you left with?  A memory, emotion, & experience related to the entire service.  So, as leaders in the church, why do we worry about getting all the parts of worship perfect?  Stress about this and that, and get upset when things don’t go perfect?  I’m not saying don’t worry about things, because when things go wrong they detract from worship, and we never want that.  But as worship leaders we must seek to get the right things in place for worship, rather than the perfect things.

Perfection is something that we can never achieve in this lifetime, so a goal of perfection on Sunday morning may leave us a little frustrated.

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