In Faith and Concern
for One Another
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing
the inexpressible is music.” Aldous Huxley
Our sanctuary has been filled with a lot of silence lately, however, I think this expresses our genuine love and respect for one another. Has it been easy to worship solely online? Most certainly not. Is it the best way we, as loving Christians, can participate in God’s loving work in our world? Yes.
For me, and much of our church, music is the way that we best connect with and understand our faith. It is my belief that both God and music have been a part of human nature from the creation. Genesis 1:26 recounts, “Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” This suggests that God has always existed in community, human beings intrinsically have within them a divine spark, and that humans only achieve the image of God when we act as a part of a larger whole. We have an unconscious compulsion to gather and worship, and we are physically and spiritually wired to connect through music.
What does this mean, then, when we can’t gather to make music? Well, we have to work a little harder and be a little more intentional. We recognize that music exists to bring us closer to our God, so we must continue finding ways to connect through music—even and especially if it is through a recording.
Consider these steps:
- If you can, try not to worship alone. We experience God through relationship and as such it is important that we mirror loving relationships as we worship and try to connect with God. If you don’t have another person, bring your pet in the room. They are better about not judging your singing anyway! This step is not imperative, but I do find it to be helpful.
- Create a sacred space spiritually and physically. Turn off your phone, put down the laundry, forget about the dirty dishes or weeds that need to be pulled. You and your God deserve an uninterrupted time to connect.
- Begin with prayer. Set your intention and connect from the very beginning.
- As much as you are comfortable (and then maybe go a little outside your comfort zone) physically participate in the music and spoken words of worship. When I record our hymns I imagine that I’m not singing alone and that it is a way that we can create something bigger than ourselves.
Music Connects Us
Our participation in music connects us and through this participation God performs and transforms within and among us. If we place any obstacles before church music, we deprive ourselves and those around us of much more than an auditory experience. Because music-making in the church is so intimately linked with the building up of community, it is the duty of church music to protect those who walk through the church doors.
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27
Concern for Others
To participate in best practices of loving our neighbors, we have not gathered for in-person worship for more than three months and will not gather for a bit longer. As much as this statement pains me, it is what must be done out of love for our neighbors.
In order that we are as inclusive as possible, provide pastoral care for the greatest number of people, and follow Jesus’ lead set forth in the parable of the lost sheep, we must weigh most heavily the needs of the most vulnerable. This means that when we do return to in-person worship, we will be creating an environment where the largest number of people will feel safe and welcomed. There will be no spoken responses by the entire congregation, as of right now, no congregational singing, requirements of wearing face masks, no choir and very restricted, if any, involvement from the chimers.
Out of love for our congregation, we will follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control. The Vista Ridge staff and COVID-19 Task Force are monitoring closely any changes or updates.
“Sometimes it is not enough that we do our best; sometimes
we must do what is required” Winston Churchill
Motivated in Faith
Everything we do right now is motivated in faith and concern for one another. For this reason, the music ministry at Vista Ridge UMC will do no harm, do all the good we can by all the means we can, in all the ways, places, and times we can for all the people we can, while staying in love with God.
Director of Traditional Music