Kylie’s Log, Supplemental: 3rd May 2015
Of all the stereotypical Pastor’s wives I didn’t want to be, did readers realise I am one of the worst types – the Organ-Playing, Hymn-vetting sort? (Oh dear).
And so I found myself on the Organ Seat this morning. After playing hooky from Church last Sunday to watch my 10-year-old son James play Hockey (his match was deferred from the previous day, due to ANZAC commemorations), it seemed a long while since I’d been “On Duty”.
But, here’s the thing. I actually ENJOY it. Shh.
That is one of the reasons I chose to call this site “Serendipity”. According to the dictionary: “Serendipity is the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it.”
For all my “obligation” issues, for all my tousles with being “pigeonholed”, sometimes Church is just where I need to be.
Where I belong.
Fronting the Music in Church on a Sunday is always valuable. It’s my chance to, in Christian parlance, give of my “Time and Talent”. Leading and participating in Worship (as opposed to music performance) is the opportunity to give back to our Creator, and “to maintain a critical awareness that the worship of God is the indispensable foundation for living whole and redeemed lives” (Preface to “Chronicles” from “THE MESSAGE” Bible.)
Sometimes, I have to confess, if there is something unfamiliar or otherwise tricky to pull off (or both, such as “winging” my way through Claire’s Baptism service last month) and it goes without a hitch, or a piece of music which is particularly joyful or jubilant, or I’m doing something in combination with a friend (such as vocalist Mary or Organist Eric) it can be more than that, it can be an absolute BLAST!
In addition, there are subtleties that probably only a liturgical Lutheran Organist would understand. Such as not stuffing up “The Song of Simeon” [“Now let your servant depart in peace”] near the end. The rhythm is irregular and it is the bane of many.
In contrast, I love to play it confidently in homage to my late Pipe Organ teacher Don Wiadrowski, who always considered the passage an affirmation.
This morning I was feeling “in the zone” and hit it “Fortissimo”.
Fabulous. Hope the congregation’s ears will recover.
Don also taught me that the Organist has power. To set the mood and the pace of the Hymns. And to make the Congregation (and Minister) wait until the organist has well and truly finished the incidental music (especially at the beginning of the service). To inject peace where peace is needed. And the Organist/Pianist (we are blessed to also have a Grand Piano at our church) also has the freedom – well at least I do – to choose the “in-between music”. So I choose selections which fit the theme of the service, time of year, or part of the service itself (such as the Communion Distribution).
So I have the ability to play my own favourites. And the favourite songs of Congregational friends. Partly to let them know I’m thinking about them and make them smile. (And partly to see if they are paying attention).
And then there is the sense of history. All the arguments about worship being “relevant” and “reaching the young” certainly have their place, but there is always the risk of the proverbial “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”.
This morning we sang “Joyful Joyful” (paraphrased from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony). Sublime.
And one of my favourite parts of the oldest Sung Liturgy we use: “O Christ, Lamb of God ” – in Latin “Agnus Dei”. The melody we use is by Martin Luther himself (from 1528), but the text is much more ancient. Based upon John the Baptist’s Biblical reference in John 1: 29 (“Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”), we sing this in common with Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christians stretching back centuries.
For the Postlude today, I threw in my all time favourite “In Thee is Gladness, mid all our Sadness”. I play this regularly, to keep the tune (penned in 1591) subliminally in the heads of worshippers, so it will still be familiar for them to sing lustily at my funeral. (Hopefully many years hence).
Which got me thinking.
In the disposable society of the 21st Century, I wonder how many Christian Hymns and Songs written today will still be heard 424 years later?
So there you have it. First Sunday in May and a certain contradiction in terms.
Also a Blonde, Remember?