Last night after church we watched Sister Act 1 and it reminded me of this vision that I had a few years ago while listening to the Sister Act 2 version of ‘Oh Happy Day’. Crazy to think that God would speak so clearly through a movie, but listening and watching this clip still gives me goosebumps! Let me explain:
Way back in 2007 we spent 2 weeks praying every week day morning at church. It was a seriously rich time of spending 7-9am praying for St Hils (my home church) and seeking the Lord. And He was actively speaking to us, giving us images and words of wisdom for our church. I got back after one of those mornings and I was listening to this song on my iPod. Then suddenly I was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit.
You see in this song, the choir lacked courage, and were perhaps embarrassed to sing in front of people. They had practiced, they knew what they were supposed to do, but when it came to the crunch, they freaked out. So what did Whoopi tell them to do? Go back to basics: scales and arpeggios. There was no point her trying to tell them to keep going as they were, it wasn’t their best, and it wasn’t going to get any better. So she goes back to the basics, to strengthen, encourage and then try again. And it works! But then after the first verse, even though they’re singing well, she goes back to the scales and arpeggios. Why? Because she knows what’s coming, the big energy-filled part. They needed yet more strength and courage to give all they’ve got.
This for me was a reminder of the Christian life: Get back to basics! Sometimes we try and do awesome things in church and in the christian life which we are capable of doing, but when it comes to the crunch we lack courage, and the confidence in what we’re doing. If we don’t have the basics down, we can try and do awesome things for God, but it will lack energy, it will lack the Holy Spirit. To use the example of this song: they were trying to sing in their own strength and failed. But they went back to basics, then they were able to sing filled with the Spirit.
So what are “the basics” of the christian life? Off the top of my head I would say: prayer, worship and the reading of Scripture. Out of these 3 flow everything else: conviction of sin and repentance, the desire to live in fellowship with other believers, the leading of the Holy Spirit, the desire to share the Gospel, help the poor, etc.
Today I realized that I think the reason I was so touched by this video is because this is what I’m passionate about: getting back to basics, standing on a solid spiritual foundation. I am convinced that if we persevere with prayer, worship and the reading of Scripture, our lives and our churches will be Spirit-filled and sanctified.
I still don’t spend enough time in prayer, I still lead worship at church and wonder what ‘true worship’ is and how to lead people in it, but I know that these things are worth pursuing.