The lyrics to the song 10,000 Reasons couldn’t have been more perfect for this past weekend. Rocco and I were asked by Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church to come play a concert for all the children in their CCD program. We had no idea what to expect and man were we blown away by what happened that afternoon.
Let me first say that, because it would be mostly kids at the concert, we could plan as well as we could but there was an understanding between Rocco and I that there was a sense of unpredictability and that made it all the more exciting for us. Spontaneity is one of my favorite things in life because it adds adventure to the ordinary.
When we arrived at the church, we began to unload all of our equipment and scoped out the space we would be playing in. Everything was set-up and prepared for us which made setting up our equipment a breeze. At 4:20, kids started flooding through the front doors and grabbing seats for the concert. Our excitement continued to escalate. We knew that this day was going to be special but nothing prepared us for what lie ahead.
5 minutes ’till show time. One little girl passed me whispering excitedly to her friend, “I think she’s the one going to sing for us.” I turned and smiled and asked her and her friends if they would sing loudly during the concert. After their initial gasp that I had heard them and was speaking to them, they smiled and said they would.
Announcements were made for everyone to take their seats. The church was packed. Standing room in the back only. Rocco and I got mentally prepared for what was about to take place and said a prayer on the side together. This would be the biggest crowd we had played for to date. We were ready… “Now, let’s give a huge welcome to Valerie and her husband Rocco!!!!!”
Shouts, woops and cheers sprang up from the little faces that sat before us. I grabbed my guitar, Rocco took his place at the keys and the concert began. Instantly, clapping began and then the voices of 500 little ones rang out in unison. I looked over at Rocco and smiled knowing that this was only the beginning.
Your Grace Is Enough, and Build Your Kingdom here went great but Your Love Never Fails was next. I figured the chorus would be easy enough for them to learn so I taught it to them. They picked it up right away and started belting out the words. They were so joyful! From where Rocco and I stood, in front of the altar, we could see kids singing at the top of their lungs, clapping and swaying with their friends. Your Love Never Fails was the best I had ever heard it sung.
10,000 Reasons was next. We had figured, it would be a softer one for them to sing. Were we wrong! I sang the chorus once and then repeated it. They got it! I sang the first verse then jumped back to the chorus. Let’s just say, I have never heard a church filled with such loud singing in my life! This was incredible! In the midst of trying to lead the songs, I couldn’t help but keep laughing to myself because of how amazing they all sounded! I encouraged them to sing even louder if they could and all their voices together completely drowned out Rocco and I. They sang with everything they had, as the quote at the top of this blog says we should. They held nothing back. A bazillion little faces lit up every time the chorus came around so they could shout out the words. At the end of the song, I told them that this wasn’t in the original plan, but I wanted to sing that chorus with them a few more times because they sounded amazing! As much as it was for them to sing the words a few more times, I have to admit, it was just as much for me. I wanted to hear them singing that chorus again with everything they had just a couple more times. I didn’t want it to end. We sang it again, even louder!
Lord I Need You was up. Exactly the same as 10,000 Reasons. They loved it! The church was bursting at the seams with the voices of so many children and it was beautiful! Heaven on earth, for sure.
A few more songs and then we led into Eucharistic Adoration. All the kids knelt before God, in silence as I sang Hosanna and Came To My Rescue. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The afternoon ended just as perfectly as it had begun. As we loaded up all of our gear, I heard a little voice behind me say, “Excuse me. Could I get your autograph?” This precious little girl had ripped a page out of her notebook and brought it up to me to have me sign. Um, adorable. I then noticed a line was forming as more kids scrambled for paper or their books to have me sign. What I don’t think they understood was that they were the ones who made that afternoon so incredible. It was them who were leading me into God’s presence. They were the worship leaders on Saturday and I was their accompaniment. They were the rockstars.
For that brief hour and fifteen minutes, I got to see what true worship is supposed to look like. 110%, joy-filled, excited, passionate, no holds barred worship. Not 50%, blasé, boring, passionateless worship. That’s not what God wants. He wants everything and, man, did those little kids teach all of us that on Saturday. They got it right. How many times have we missed the point of worship as just a filler of time? These kids heard it, grabbed it and soaked it up for all that it was worth. Saturday was, by far, one of the coolest experiences, if not, dare I say, THE coolest experience I have had as a worship leader and is one I will treasure forever.
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.