Monday Musings-May 2, 2011-What are they REALLY singing?

Good afternoon, singers! It’s been a busy few weeks and with Easter behind us, we look forward to Music/Friendship Sunday on May 15. Let’s spend a bit of time thinking about what Music Sunday means to each of us. But first, here’s a little bit of humor for your first day of the week:

While this is a humorous video, (and somewhat irreverent; sincerest apologies ahead of time!) it does have a serious side. What does the listener comprehend when we sing? Consider what they hear when words aren’t printed in bulletins. Before you read any further, if you haven’t watched the video, do so now. Then look below for the REAL words to the hymn and listen to it again. (One of the lines in the 2nd verse doesn’t match what I could find online…)

1 Blessed city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above,
and, with angel hosts encircled,
as a bride dost earthward move;

2 from celestial realms descending,
bridal glory round thee shed,
meet for him whose love espoused thee,
to thy Lord shalt thou be led;
all thy streets and all thy bulwarks
of pure gold are fashioned.

As we work in our rehearsals, it’s crucial that to go above and beyond what we think is enunciating enough to convey the stories in our music. And this also goes further into our hymn singing. It’s not for someone else to do; we all share the task of imparting a beautiful story of drama, passion, wonder, and awe each time we open our mouths.

Music Sunday. It’s a long-standing tradition here at FCCOG, as I’m sure it is in many congregations with outstanding music ministries. While at first glance, it’s a grand way to celebrate the ministry we share in music. But what else does it demonstrate? Certainly, it’s a way to add that little “extra” in a month of Sundays that contains a myriad of celebrations; Mother’s Day, Heritage Sunday, Confirmation, and others. It celebrates the dedication of those who work, week in, week out, to lead those gathered to worship on Sunday and to inspire them in ways that the spoken word cannot accomplish. But above all, it reminds us of our duty to share our talents with each other, and with the congregation at large. Do we all have a voice like Pavorotti or Joan Sutherland? No, but each of us has been given a talent…one that can’t be squandered or hid under a bushel.

Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to spend 60 minutes thinking about what music means to you in your life, both personally and how you share that passion within the context of the ministry here. We are all truly blessed to have the opportunity to praise God in a variety of ways. Let’s shout it from the mountaintops and invite our friends and neighbors to come to First Congregational Church on May 15 to sing some of the great hymns, enjoy anthems shared by all of our fine ensembles, and top off the morning with food and fellowship on the front lawn.

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