It’s done. The recording project started four years ago—putting the book of Revelation to song—has moved from our hands into others’ who will refine, polish, and package it until it returns to us in a two-CD unit filled with the creative blood, sweat and tears of over 25 singers, writers, musicians, artists, and engineers.
The recording will move from our hands into others’ hands, which will pop it into ever-changing types of devices designed to move the music from disc to ear. Finally ears will hear, and nervous systems will feel pulse, chord and tune. Hopefully brains will comprehend the poetry. Then reactions will flow in—ringing affirmations, at times swelling into superlatives; but also the criticisms of everything from that particular vocal to the instrumental treatment of such and such to the cover art to the artistic choices to “too tame” to “too wild” to this should have been done like this . . . what were you thinking?
By the grace of Jesus, I won’t be elated by flattery or dejected by applause. My flesh surges with as much pride as yours, but God has been overwriting it with better things. See, people are bigger than projects. Yes, God told us to occupy ourselves, work in His vineyard, stay busy, and bear fruit; and I believe God specifically asked me to bring this creative idea to fruition. But in the middle of the marathon, He taught me that the ones I ran beside mattered more than the finish line, the trophy or the headlines. In fact, they were the finish line, the trophy and the headlines.
Religious zealots like me love to work, work, work, for God. Actually, by virtue of a driven temperament I’d work, work, work regardless. My bloodlines set me up to take great pleasure in the plan and execute function of my cerebral cortex. So there’s nothing other-worldly or noble about my drive, really. If God didn’t have hold of my heart, the same drive that runs Christian music projects might run a large brothel or meth house. We love to baptize such things, dunking them in holy water till they shimmer with seeming spiritual virtue. But in and of themselves, great works—even great religious works, mind you—don’t indicate the presence of God. Love does.
Over and over, through the tediums and aggravations inherent in recording music, God would remind me that people were greater than projects; that the people I worked beside mattered more than the project we worked on. Specifically, my producer, Delon Lawrence, who slaved day and night (and toward the end, to a worrisome point), mattered more. When inevitable disagreements and cross purposes arose, I’d find myself saying over and over, “I’d rather flush every one of these 45 tracks down the toilet than lose your friendship.” And I meant it. Because Jesus has taught me what really matters, I meant it.
Without love, I am nothing. People > projects. Amen.