As some of you know, I sing in my church choir. Our numbers are relatively few, perhaps a dozen regulars. Some strive for perfection and call attention to every missed note during practices...others are more laid back. I feel frazzled and stressed the odd time I get caught up in the perfectionism, but mostly I just sit back during practice and offer what vocal talent I have, without worrying about whether an occasional high note comes out sounding like chalk on a blackboard!
Come Sunday morning, I open myself to the Spirit and what music flows out of me is what it is...an imperfect but joyful noise! I sing with love in my heart and (so I am told) a smile on my face :)
This past week, we received a note of criticism over one of the hymns...the author of the note felt we had not sufficiently practiced and did not provide adequate leadership for the congregation to sing this unfamiliar piece. The note contained a valid point, that choir should not be all about the anthem (the main musical offering around the sermon) but should also be about the hymns too. Fair enough. But the rest came across as unnecessarily critical and judgemental...and not at all mindful that this is a group of people who are not trained vocalists and who are offering their gift of music on a purely voluntary basis and who have limited time for choir practice amid work and family and the rest of our lives. So I wrote this prayer for my fellow choir members and myself...may we all remember that our music ministry is indeed a gift to cherish, and one that is welcomed and appreciated by most of our congregation.
Gracious and loving God
Our souls are filled with the power and joy of your song of Creation
Our hearts dance to the beat of your rhythm as we raise our voices in response to your call
Wrapped in the arms of your sustaining and eternal Love, we offer our gift of music
In the presence of your Holy Spirit, hearts are stilled to hear, minds are stirred to action, lives may be transformed...
We pray that all who listen will hear with understanding, and open themselves to feel your presence through the joy in our voices and the passion in our hearts
We pray that all who listen will feel their spirits touched by the wonder of your mystery, and add their own voices to our joyful noise
May we ourselves continue to be uplifted in knowing our singing touches and uplifts many others in our faith community
May we cast off the burden of impossible perfection, and let our souls soar on the wings of heavenly music
May we sing always with hearts open to your presence and your power ♥
Hallelujah and Amen!
"Music is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us."
~ Martin Luther