In early November, I had the honor of attending a friend’s pastoral installation service. He was officially taking over the head pastor position at a Baptist church about an hour south of where we live.
I hadn’t been to this type of religious service before, and it was both beautiful and inspiring. Various members of his family, fellow pastors, and folks in both his prior and new congregations spoke, offering words of encouragement and prayers, and lots of songs were sung.
One of the women who spoke, Mother Bea, said very clearly, “If you’re here today in this church and at this service, there’s a reason. You’re supposed to be here.” For me, my reason for being there was clear right from the start.
When I walked in, the musicians were warming up and practicing some of the hymns that would be part of the service. The one that started as I walked toward the front of the church? “How Great Thou Art”. It honestly made me stop in my tracks for a couple seconds, as that song was one of my grandparents’ very favorite hymns and was played at both of their funerals. I haven’t been able to get through it without shedding at least a few tears falling since they passed, but it always makes me smile and think of them. Somehow (probably due to the quick prayer for strength I said so I wouldn’t ugly cry in front of a bunch of strangers) I got through it – whew! Proud face 🙂 One of my favorite renditions of this song is below, from Carrie Underwood.
Later in the service, my friend’s wife sang a song I had never heard before, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”. It hit me like a ton of bricks, both because of the message within the lyrics and her angelic voice singing it. Seriously…I have not been moved that profoundly in a very long time. The song is related to the Gospel story of Jesus walking on water and summoning Peter to come to him. When Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking, he becomes afraid and starts to sink before Jesus reached out and saved him.
It rocked me to my core because of all the junk going on in my life at the time – having just dropped my husband off for a 2.5 week trip to Africa, dealing with an uncertain health issue, etc – and the anxiety and worry it was causing. Clearly, this was another reason for me to be at that church that day. Mother Bea was right 🙂 It was a reminder I needed to hear, to trust and have faith. Lyrics and a YouTube video for you to listen are below. (Skip to about the 30 second mark in the video for the song to start.)
“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find You in the mystery. In oceans deep, my faith will stand.
(Chorus) And I will call upon Your name. And keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace. For I am Yours and You are mine.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters. Your sovereign hand will be my guide where feet may fail and fear surrounds me. You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
I hope one of these songs inspires you or at least brings a smile to your face!