Is God in the house, or not?
As my friend Cole would say, it’s foolish to assume that God is present just because you experience a certain emotional reaction. It could be God, or it could be the skill with which the saxophonist is playing. There are times when God has been present and those on the scene were blissfully unaware until after the fact. And, in my opinion, there have been plenty of times where church folk have gone through the motions, acting like God was all up in what was going on, and He wasn’t … at least not in the way they thought He was.
Such tricky philosophical terrain becomes hard to manage with any sort of clarity, because who’s to say that God isn’t in the music itself, whether we’re aware or not? Colossians 1:17 says that in Him all things hold together. And Matthew 18:20 says that wherever two or three gather in Jesus’ name, that He is there taking part.
So maybe there’s a difference between having a general understanding of God’s omnipresence, and actually encountering the face of God, in a worship context.
Because that’s what the Hebrew word paniym means — face.
Maybe there’s a difference between simply invoking God’s name, and passionately giving your all to experience His presence on a visceral level.
And maybe it makes a difference when God’s people who are musically gifted can express that passion in their music.
And maybe it would make a difference if those musicians in the kingdom had a sense of community and relationship, so that there was less of a sense of competition, and more of a sense of cooperative synergy.
And what if one of those musicians was also a pastor, someone with decades of experience leading others into the presence of God? And what if being a pastor didn’t stop him from being a good musician, but in fact enhanced his musicianship because of the strength of the anointing of the Spirit of God in his life and on his ministry?
Well then in that case, you’d be talking about Paul Greenidge.
And this is my long-winded way of telling you that such passionate praise and worship events do happen, and one of them is happening soon, right here in Portland.
Paul Greenidge, one of the finest gospel pianists the world has ever seen (don’t think that’s hyperbole — trust me, it’s not) is finally… after years and years of waiting, having a live concert recording.
And it’s called… what else?
PANIYM: The Presence of God.
I’ll be posting links when the recording is available for purchase, but those of you in the Portland area can experience this firsthand, Saturday May 10th, at 7pm, at Irvington Covenant Church.