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The Spark of the Spirit

At Virginia-Highland Church, we currently are using Broadway musicals to try to hear the voice of the still-speaking God. We pair a musical with the assigned lectionary lessons, and then listen for the dialogue between them.

This week’s musical is Rodger + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and the Gospel lesson tells us about Jesus’ interaction with children. As the modern lesson, we are using a video of Steven Curtis Chapman’s beautiful song “Cinderella,” which is about his daughters, and a local actress is singing a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune that Whitney Houston sang in the 1997 television production. After the service, we are dedicating our newly remodeled children’s center, which we really needed.

As I think about how well these pieces fit together, I would like to say that it’s because we are so good at long-range planning. I’m afraid, though, that lightning will strike me dead if I take credit for how amazing worship turns out week after week. The truth is my life is too jam-packed with consulting, traveling, teaching, writing, and a thousand other things to plan in the way I should. Fortunately, the staff members I work with are deeply devoted, incredibly gifted, and low drama people who craft worship for a congregation and a God they love. The other factor is this amazing reality I discover again and again:

When I do what I can do, God seems to take it from there.

I don’t know that this is particularly good theology or particularly insightful, but it is a word of personal testimony. I have a terrible tendency to overcommit and spread myself too thin. Sometimes I begin to panic, but then I remember that, if I will be honestly faithful and do what I can, God will take care of the rest. It will be enough, and it almost always is.

There are many times when I show up feeling like I need another week to get ready. I’ve done all I can do, though, and it turns out so much better than I thought it would. I know it isn’t me; the Spark of the Spirit makes all the difference. Now, there have been times when I didn’t do my part, and the Spark never showed. When we do all we can, however, and leave the rest to God, it is almost like magic.

So, we will see if a plain yellow pumpkin can become a golden carriage on Sunday, but I won’t be at all surprised to look down and find that I’m wearing glass slippers.

Blessings,

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Rev. Michael Piazza

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