Friday, April 10, 2009

And the Joy We Share As We Tarry There...

Yesterday was Good Friday. While I have attended my childhood church regularly for the past five years (after a twenty year hiatis...) I sometimes consider myself a reluctant Christian. But I won't go into all of that now. My point is only that, when I'm outside of church my mind tends to wander into to the logical recesses of organized religion that have little to do with Faith. I am fully aware that often my commitment seems more linked to the community of people I am surrounded by and the activities planned than a true spiritual quest.

But I do believe in the music.

Perhaps that is condecending, but I believe it to be true in my heart. There is no where else on earth that I can hear music that stirs me quite like the music I hear cumulatively in church. Occassionally I am asked to give the opening Welcome and Announcements. On those Sundays, during the Prelude, I sit on a two-seater pew directly in front of the organ, the pipes directly above my head, enveloping me fully in the sound. Other Sundays, I sit next to my mother and we pick out the harmony during the hymns. Neither of us has ever bragged the best voice, but we are on pitch, loud, and, we can sing harmony.

Sometimes I play the piano, usually when the Music Director goes on vacation. We have a terrific orchestra - two keyboardists, a trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and flutist - but they get a break when he is off. Then it's just me and the grand piano. I try to pull out the old faithfuls, those hymns everyone knows and I love playing - Blessed Assurance, All Hail the Power of Jesus Name, Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, and, of course, In the Garden.

Which brings me to this past Thursday. I attended my first Maundy Thursday service because I'd been asked to be involved in the program. I will admit that before the service I was feeling a little put out, as though I already go to church more regularly than I ever thought I would and I was working with the kids on the Easter Sunrise service program. So I was stewing a little, wondering what sort of thing I could have been doing that night instead. And then the orchestra started playing In the Garden. And I noticed that everyone who was coming in was singing to themself. And the more people noticed others singing to themselves, the louder everone became. My mood changed a little and I was patient to sit and listen and reflect.

If that's what church is, I've decided I'm okay with that for right now.


  1. Thoughtful post. Well, all of your posts are thoughtful and interesting to me. But this one in particular...well, thanks for writing it.

  2. That's one of my favorite songs ever...and, Christ served his community and it is called the church so, I think you are doing the work of God by serving those you are in community with.


  3. Christ serves his community and it is the church...likewise, with Christ as our example, we are to love and serve one another too...In The Garden is one of my favorite hymns ever...thanks for this post.

    Marty D