Mashiach 2012: report from the Director of Music

Many psalms start: For the Director of Music: a psalm… I thought perhaps rather than a psalm being written FOR the Director of Music, perhaps the Director of Music should write a blog about the conference! This is going to be written from the perspective of the oversight of the music worship and the musicians, as this is my job in the UBMS. It is also my testimony of the huge spiritual battle that took place over the weekend and in the run-up to the conference, and the victory won by HaShem.

Clearly, the enemy of our souls did not want this conference to take place.  Many of our international delegates and participants had large obstacles to overcome to travel to this country and some didn’t make it at all (visa and passport problems, health issues, accidents etc). Our intercession team were praying constantly and on the morning of the conference, I set off thinking that we had pretty much covered everything. But just before I left, the Lord sent a warning verse to me: (1 Peter 4:12-13, MKJV)

“Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you, but rejoice according as you are partakers of Messiah’s suffering, so that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

On Friday evening, Erev Shabbat, we started the conference with 3 blasts from the shofar to welcome in Shabbat and the following psalm set to music: (Ps 150, CJB)

Halleluyah! Praise God in his holy place! Praise him in the heavenly dome of his power!
Praise him for his mighty deeds! Praise him for his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with a blast on the shofar! Praise him with lute and lyre!
Praise him with tambourines and dancing! Praise him with flutes and strings!
Praise him with clanging cymbals! Praise him with loud crashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise Adonai! Halleluyah!

We had organised a concert by a music group from Belgium called “Kineti” (Hebrew for “I am zealous”). By the end of the evening service, we found out that one of the band members had been turned back at Customs in France and not allowed into the country (passport issues). But we knew we could still go ahead with the concert as the others had arrived (albeit one with a broken foot, in plaster and with crutches)… or so we thought.

After lunch on Shabbat, as we were getting ready for the afternoon sessions, to be followed by rehearsals for the evening, one of the other members of Kineti started feeling unwell (the wife of the one with the broken foot…). To cut a very long story short, I ended up travelling with her to hospital in the back of an ambulance (to act as translator) which meant a) that clearly the concert would not happen, and b) I would not be around to work out a programme with our house band in the short amount of time left before the evening. I had a quick word with my Rabbi and we agreed to ask the worship leader at one of the other synagogues to take over and organise something. I left then for the hospital, already with a strong sense of God’s peace.

As soon as we got to the hospital and were given a room, whilst we were waiting for assessment, I started texting my friend, an intercessor, and asked her to pray. The following are extracts from what she wrote as she was praying:

“What I’m feeling is not nice, it’s vicious and vengeful. The “mischief” this week (the build-up to the conference) was prods and pokes but this is the real thing. The conference is hated HATED by this spirit. You must all stand. It is very dangerous.”

She then went on to describe a picture she had of a pall-like grey piece of cloth flying its way over/towards our conference, held at each of its corners by a dark spirit.

We continued to wait to be seen – and discovered that at the point of our arrival, there were two very serious emergencies that needed the total focus of the medical team, so we ended up in the unit for about 5 hours. However, the staff ran a very thorough MOT and pronounced our friend fit and well, with nothing more serious than a muscle strain and we were able to leave. We eventually got back to the conference centre in the late evening.

The next day, Sunday morning, Kineti delayed their departure and played a 45 minute set in the morning. They were adamant that it would be a defeat not to play, especially having travelled all the way from Belgium, and we were blessed by their ministry to us and by their courage in the face of adversity.

The rest of the story I only found out the next day when I was having a catch-up conversation with my Rabbi. The house band put together a set of worship songs and everyone had a great evening, worshipping and praising God. But during the evening, a thunderstorm broke overhead, with much lightning, thunder and heavy rain. The band continued worshipping, seemingly unfazed; however, intercessors and Rabbis present felt very strongly that this was an attack from the enemy specifically directed against the musicians and their equipment (reminds me of Eliyahu’s experience: “the Lord was not in the storm”…). I was able to tell my Rabbi about the picture my friend had the day before; she had seen this attack coming towards the conference centre before it physically happened.

But the victory which had the most impact on me personally was in my arena: the management of the music and the musicians for our conferences and B’Yachad Shabbatons. On the return from the hospital, someone said to me tongue in cheek that I must be worried that the musicians had done so well without me, because I might not be needed anymore! On the contrary, I said, part of my remit when I was appointed to do this job was to make myself dispensable! I was delighted because it meant I was doing my job and was on track!

The conference weekend was a great example of how God turns the devices of the enemy against him, to turn what was meant for destruction into life. Truly “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. (Rom 8:28)

Shirah Ralph