Psalm 98

Today we celebrated Music Appreciation Sunday, in honor of the vital role music plays in worship. A beautiful reflection took the place of the sermon; I offered these “musings.” – Nathan

Anthropologists are not sure when people started talking, using words to transmit their thoughts, but they probably sang first. Christian teachers from the Apostle Paul to the Rev. Brad Braxton commend music as the key to sharing with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit-song rises within us even when words are lost. Music fills our whole body in a way that talking usually doesn’t.

Some are called to invest extra time and effort in sharing music with us – namely Sally, Caryl, the choir, and our special musicians. Sally leads us in hymns and anthems, of course, but she leads other moments we may not think of: the prelude, offertory, gloria, doxology, and traveling song. All of this needs to be practiced, requiring invisible hours of work. The choir rehearses over a hundred hours per year on anthems and introits. The Christmas cantata means extra preparation (and hors d’oeuvres). And that’s not counting the extra time Caryl spends selecting music to complement scripture readings and special celebrations. Then there’s special music throughout the year, especially in the summer. From guitars to bagpipers, flute to piano, we had 17 different special musicians in 2010, who put in uncounted hours of work. And that’s not to mention that Sally often accompanies these musicians and supports funerals and weddings.

So we give thanks for all those hours of work, for so many talents shared with us, for such leadership in our worship. Worship music isn’t just display. It enters us. We feel it as much as hearing it. We resonate with it. Our souls vibrate with songs sung and played, as Christian souls have always buzzed. Give thanks for this gift of music.