Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Something Not Seen
Now after over forty years of being in the pulpit, it would seem to me that I have seen it all when it comes to whatever might happen when a choir comes in the sanctuary. I have listened to large choirs and choirs so small it seemed more like a trio. I have heard choirs that left me longing for more and some that caused me to pray for a quick end. I remember one Minister of Music who stopped in the midst of a major Easter presentation to tell the violinist not to play anymore. And another time the choir started off so badly there was nothing to do but for them to stop and start over. But, they got it the second time! I have seen choirs of all ages and even one musical group that played cowbells instead of the traditional bells so often used in churches. I even saw a choir member go to sleep and throw a book in the air as he jerked himself awake. It was quite a noise. Woke everyone else up, too!
Yep, I have seen it all. Until tonight. At our 5th Sunday Community Worship Service which is attended mainly by the town Methodists and Baptists, an African American choir from a nearby church came to sing. It was a great evening of music. Most Music Directors I have known would have died for such an animated, involved, and excited group of musicians. There was no trouble hearing them and understanding the words they were singing. But, what I had never seen were the two women who held their toddlers while they sang. These children were not babies, but heavy toddlers. After a couple of songs, the children were passed to another singer. Five different musicians held these two children before they finally made it to the men's section where two guys hung on to them to the end. Never seen it happen before. Those two children were held by singing, swaying, and rejoicing women. What a way to indoctrinate children into church music!
As I listened to the singing, I was captivated by the way the community of the choir cared for those children. It reminded me of stories I heard in my first appointment about the mothers of the previous generation who brought blankets so their children could play and sleep on the floor. It was the accepted practice. How different is our approach today. In most places with nurseries and children's church, children never make it to worship until they are third graders. Is there anything wrong with this picture?