Advent 2.1: Middle verses

Oh, friends, it's true: so much of why I love the church is wrapped up in song.


I'll admit, I cling to a particular type of singing. Contemporary worship music never grabbed my soul; I was never the type to raise my hands and close my eyes; partly my personality and partly because I wasn't raised on it, it didn't take up space first in my heart.

So give me the red Methodist hymnal and its sacred tunes, some peppy some slow, complex with harmonies and sheet music that I can (mostly) follow, set down on paper from the hearts of women and men from centuries ago or yesterday, the same questions, same wonders, same love. Songs that I connect with people, places, and moments that have given me God. Songs that lift my heart when I'm low or reaffirm my hope for the world.

Advent only heightens my musical immersion, perhaps because I have so many of those associations with this sensory season.

On Sundays year-round on most every hymn we sing, our organist, Timothy, will stop playing for the middle verses.

Today during our Lessons and Carols service, I realized that when he does this, it's an act of trust and an act of grace--trust that we will keep the song going on our own, grace that we actually do. I live for the mixing of our voices, the blending of harmonies above our heads, rising higher and diving deeper than we can understand--but somehow, I still feel it, the heights and depths of what I cannot fully understand.

In this music that we create, every voice matters, echoing our life together and the life--whatever life--that exists beyond us.