On Sunday, in observance of All Saints Day, we honored and remembered our beloved dead: We chanted their names at the beginning of the service in our beautiful Columbarium Chapel, we gathered around the altar to turn in our pledges for 2019 and renew our Baptismal Covenant, and our Hand Bell Choir played a stunning arrangement of the American Christian folk song, “I’ll Fly Away.” The Bell Choir anthem was more than a pretty piece of music. As we listened, we all knew that something special was being offered; something beautiful and even transcendent.
Good worship and good music can do that. There comes a point when we are transported beyond ourselves into a beautiful, communal experience. At the beginning of the service, as we chanted the names of the dead, I was aware that each name represented a dearly beloved person. These were not just names to be spoken. These were offerings of love and gratitude. I noticed at least one person in the congregation who had tears streaming down her face.
Our walk with Christ starts with baptism, is inspired and empowered in worship, and is fed at the Lord’s Table. We stood there, around the table where we had placed our pledges of support for our congregation and where we would soon share Holy Communion and spoke the Baptismal Covenant together. Standing around that table, face to face, we could see the Christ in each of our sisters and brothers as we shared a moment of commitment and faith.
During the hand bell anthem, I was facing away from the bell choir, across the altar. That’s my place, it’s where I belong in that moment, but I could not stay there. I had to turn and watch the choir. They took a simple song and transported us. We shared a moment of beauty and transcendence. Worship calls us beyond ourselves. Worship brings us together in community, in fellowship, and in faith and then sends us out, inspired and empowered.
Yours in Christ,