In these our tabernacles
Sunday May 18th 2014, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

Church was different today.

Jim’s friend Craig Jessop was in town, and Jim (my son’s old organ teacher) introduced him to the congregation.

Brother Jessop is the former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I wrote about him once here, a great story, don’t miss it if you haven’t seen it yet. (And I’m sorry to add that this time Richard was the one who was home sick with a fever and had to miss out on the experience.)

He sang a solo with just the most glorious voice and then he had us all sing a few hymns.

Just the first verse of Now Let Us Rejoice–and suddenly I had tears streaming freely. One friend had no idea why but she reached an arm around me. It’s okay, it’s cool.

Brother Jessop talked some more about the power of music in connecting us with God, and then said, I’m going to ask you: if you have a favorite hymn, if one has a particular meaning to you, would you come up here, maybe 30 seconds (and then he smiled and kind of laughed and said, okay, a minute) and tell us why it’s important to you.

Collette talked about the schizophrenia that had betrayed her grandson, (the answer to the last line on that post? It was true. None of our children has been lost since that day) and at his funeral we had sung Lead Kindly Light. It had brought her so much comfort.

We sang Lead Kindly Light for her, for Brian, for God.

Others spoke too and we learned things about each other we had never known. Music is an intimate art.

I had a sister-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer when her youngest was in middle school. Her husband…acted out his pain in ways unfathomable to those who loved them. Their marriage ended and still he wrought destruction. He threw away so much that he could have been.

Eight years after her diagnosis, our phone rang very early one morning when we knew what that would mean.

It was a Sunday morning. There was certainly no going back to sleep and I walked quietly towards the kitchen to start the day with a moment to myself to take it in before the kids would wake up and be told.

And as I walked down that hallway I had this growing sense of music being sung, as if a whole crowd of happy people were giving praise to God in every note shared together.

Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation.  Just the first two phrases. I was in the kitchen by this point; the last note seemed to shine with light in the still air.

And with that, at long last after such a struggle she’d endured, peace was given to me.

4 Comments so far
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I’m not sure what to write… I am moved and I need you to know it.

Comment by Suzanne from Montreal 05.19.14 @ 5:55 am

Alison, thanks for this blog, and its links. I was able to follow the links and remember good things about Cheryl and others. There are always people and events in our life that we need to remember fondly, and we thank God for these associations that have touched us and helped make us who we are.

Comment by morgan 05.19.14 @ 6:11 am

it is amazing to me how music that I haven’t heard in a long time can instantly bring back such strong emotion

my grandparents sang in the choir at church, when I hear It Is Well with My Soul, in my mind’s eye I’m once again standing in the pew, the edge of the starched cotton skirt scratching the back of my knees, the smell of lilacs wafting through the windows and my grandfather’s deep voice sing those lyrics — amazing memories

music has great power to heal us — thanks for reminding us all

Comment by Bev 05.19.14 @ 8:03 am

Music, like new love, is a balm for the soul. It reaches across the chasm to connect us in a highly intimate way with our Creator, and great worship leaders know how to use their gift of music to facilitate that connection. Music, and those who minister through it, are truly a gift from God.

Comment by Pam 05.19.14 @ 11:13 am

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