Praise! Praise! Praise!
For those who’ve been in worship these past several Sundays, you know I’m on a tear about how we express the word “praise.” This enthusiasm has sent me back to the source. The bible is chockfull of iterations of the word “praise.” I even tried Googling to get an absolute number, without success. (Maybe someone else can try.) My point is, “praise” is everywhere.
Consider our worship services. Excluding any scripture readings, not a Sunday goes by when we don’t sing “praise” at least four times. And on a recent Sunday, we were praising in just about every hymn verse! Think, for a moment, about the word and the emotion it conveys. I suggest there’s no way we can say or sing “praise” and not be cheerful. There’s no such thing as an unhappy voicing of the word.
So let’s not allow ourselves to be Debbie Downers. How about, when we hit the word, we convey its meaning and raise the rafters of our Sanctuary as we give praise making a joyful sound? A plan?
Music Ministry Coordinator
“Making a Joyful Sound”
Our Music Ministry has grown out of who we are as a congregation and is very much “our thing”. We think of our music ministry as a three-legged stool. One leg is Allan Mueller, our professional musician, who supports our singing in many ways with a variety of musical styles; another leg is occasional congregational and guest soloists; and the third leg is The Ensemble, an approach to music worship in which everyone is invited to participate. This invitation takes several forms. Although the Ensemble leads our congregation in song, it’s role is not limited to singing. People in our Church Family have other musical talents, which include playing a variety of musical instruments. Participation in the Ensemble is on a project-by-project basis and is designed to accommodate the busiest of lives. All that is required if a commitment to some preparation time, typically two to three practices. We think of practice as a fun type of spiritual discipline. Since we view our music ministry as a form of worship and not performance art, we believe that God deserves our best and so we don’t “wing” it. Blest be the musical ties that bind
There’s more! Markus Finkbeiner recently added to his growing collection of wind instruments. Yet more. We’ve heard Erin and Eric Chetwynd delight us with their fiddle playing (Yes, it’s okay to call violins fiddles!), but now Erin is working on her ukulele skills too. How do I know? She attends monthly uke jams conducted by my husband, Jim Webster.
Then, of course, we have our wonderful Allan Mueller on two sets of keyboards—piano and organ. Dudley Moses (and his soaring tenor voice) Alana Limber, Madeline McTague, and Steve Granger—together with Erin and Eric– are the Ensemble’s singing loyalists who show up early on Sunday to practice and then lead our congregational singing as well as sharing special music from time to time.
Music is one of the ways we can connect with what is within us and sometimes left unspoken. Music can lead us over the bridge between our past and our present. And music is a way of “knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door” as Bob Dylan once wrote.
For the honor and glory of God, music will be in our Sanctuary.Peace and blessings.
—Gloria Parkinson, Coordinator of Music Ministry