I watched last night as a man named Ken Medema played and sang a song based on the words of a sermon – a sermon that finished 15 seconds before he started singing! The preacher at the opening worship service of the Texas Annual Conference was Rev. Michelle Hall, a chaplain at Wiley College. She spoke about the death of her mother and the smell of a gardenia flower, a smell that 15 years later reminds her of God’s grace that came to her in a difficult time. Ken Medema took that image – the smell of the Gardenia – and used it as a metaphor for the fragrance of God found in the work and presence of the people of God. It was a moving moment (especially for Rev. Hall who obviously had no idea Mr. Medema would put her sermon to song).
I saw a couple of things that made that song possible, and a couple of things we can do to make our lives music to God’s ear:
Pay Attention to God at Work
Rev. Hall found comfort in God’s grace and found the compelling fragrance of the gardenia a reminder of God’s presence on the day of her mother’s funeral. She also remembered the power of grace every time she walked by that gardenia over the next 15 years. She could have been reminded of her mother – not a bad reminder. She could have been reminded of the friends who stood beside her and cried with her – again, a good remembrance. But even as she remembered those things, she remembered more the grace of God that came to her in the life of her mother and on the day of her funeral through family and friends.
Where is God at work in and around you? Are you taking note? Are you remembering more than anything the love and grace God has shown to you?
Let others hear your story
The music of Ken Medema was only possible last night because he was able to hear the story Michelle Hall shared. If she doesn’t tell the story of God’s grace, Ken Medema can’t sing the song. Telling your story is not selfish – it’s a witness. Telling your story of God’s grace at work in your life will remind others of how God has been at work in their life, Or, even more importantly, it will help others believe God CAN work in their life, even in tough times.
Have you shared your story lately? If God has been good to you, have you told others how much that meant to you?
Oh, by the way, not that he would say it matters, but as a point of interest – Ken Medema is blind. He plays the piano like a mad man and writes improvisational songs based on stories he hears just moments before…
You know, scratch what I just said, I think Ken Medema is able to see better than most.
Holy high five to you, Mike