Witnesses to the Gospel,
It has been an absolute joy to serve as your Minister of Music. As my time serving comes to a close, my thoughts are lingering on the past three years.
Yes, it only has been three years since I began my time with you. It feels like much longer — and not in a bad way! It feels as if each of you has been a significant part of my life, and indeed you have been! It is the short time period that makes it a wonder, mainly because this community has taught me so much. Chief among those is something I want to name here: appreciation, and not just appreciation, but what I am going to call “Holy Appreciation.”
Holy Appreciation is much more than just saying “thanks.” It is different than saying “thanks” if someone says “God Bless You” after a sneeze; it is different than thanking someone after they hold a door open for you; it is different than the appreciation offered countless ways that happen each and every day as “thanks” flies out of our mouths so we can be polite. Holy Appreciation is something different: it is a pastor that never fails to lift up those who need recognizing for their work in and for the community. Holy Appreciation is a Church Council that produces signed thank you cards; a note left by musicians after they created music for the community. Holy Appreciation, despite how common it is in this place, is still wholly Holy.
One of the joys of the 9:00 AM service is that, because of the small space in the chapel, I get to interact with everyone on their way out. In those interactions, some people look me in the eye in a moment of Holy Appreciation and thank me for the music that day. My response has always been “thanks for singing along!”
Regardless of whether you have belted every hymn that was chosen for the last three years, or if you have barely whispered the words for fear that the person next to you might hear you sing, you have sung. You have sung because singing in worship is an act of the assembly, and so by nature of you being in the presence of song, you have sung.
And so, for the last time as your Minister of Music: thanks for singing along.
The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you peace. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. Amen. (Words to the choir benediction in today’s service, Peter C. Lutkin)
Until we meet again,