Sunday, May 21, 2006

Place Your Faith in God, Not System Processors

Today's Topic: The Big Day

Lah lalah lalah... I was walking back around to our front of house area after discussing a few tweaks to the timing on IMAG transitions with our video producer. The morning had been pretty calm, so calm that I didn't fell pressed to get up to him until after the second service was under way.

Robin Boisvert had delivered an excellent message on the beatitudes, challenging us to look forward to the future life, where those who are poor, who lack, will gain the kingdom. The hungry will be full, the mourning will laugh, and those rejected for the sake of Christ will find eternal reward. The room was full of conviction and faith.

And that faith continued to fill me as I walked by the "noisy baby" video room. I popped my head in to make sure all was well, when I saw an unfortunate image on the screen. Our senior pastor was tapping on the microphone. The mic wasn't working. He reached for the backup wired mic that sits below the podium. Hallelujah! We finally got the message through to grab that one and not one of the vocalist mics!! (We'd been working on that one for a while, can you tell?)

But, the backup wasn't working either.

Now it was time to hurry!

I flew by the kids on the stairwell and ran into the main auditorium. Our senior pastor was talking without a mic, OVER THE DIN OF A FEEDBACK-LIKE TONE THAT WASN'T GOING AWAY! This was worse than I thought!

When I reached the booth, another faithful team member was already there helping our mixer try to remedy the situation. He had made a good decision to power down the system and get rid of the "feedback."

I got the report when I stepped up: the DSP system processor that controls the entire LCR sound system and four segments of delays decided to decompile (aka stop working) and spit out a nasty, continuous tone.

OK, so here's a nightmare come true. Four years ago, when we designed the system, we sat around a table discussing whether we should go with a single DSP-based box to control our entire sound system. What happens if it the whole things fails outright? Would it be able to come back alive? What backup options would we have?

Now I know what happens when it fails. Ugly!

Thankfully, a quick reboot got the system happily DSPing again. I couldn't find any problems in the self-diagnostics. That made me feel better. Mostly. I'll be having a very serious discussion with the manufacturer tomorrow to find out exactly what happened.

By God's grace, I attend the most flexible, joy-filled congregation in the world. Our senior pastor very graciously led the church without a sound system while we troubleshot for four minutes. And by God's mercy, many people were affected by the silence as we handed out communion, and enjoyed singing a capella instead of with the band. The congregation continued to worship God, regardless of the circumstances around it.

Thank you, Lord!

Not to put words in God's mouth, but maybe today there was another beatitude...

Blessed are those whose sound system breaks, for they will worship the Lord!

More Posts on The Big Day


Anonymous said...

What is the woe?

Dave Wilcox said...

Woe to thee if your system processor works properly week after week, for thou shalt be lulled into complacency and surprised on "that day."

Lew said...

Hey Dave,
I didn't know if yesterday would be a good day to tell you this or not, but the sound system not working was a blessing to me. My heart needed that silence and to be stilled. It truly was a moment where God could draw me back to Himself instead of the myriad of other things that are calling for my attention.

Something that I've learned time and time again is that even when things don't go the way we would envision or desire, God ultimately has a better plan to grow us and bless others.