Where is God at work in the world? Where is God at work in my life? He is working through each of us. Years ago I googled ‘What is the meaning of life?’ One definition stuck with me. To paraphrase, it was “Life is a journey from here to God. Help others with their journey.” That makes sense to me. I’d always tried to help people, but this put it into focus. We simply need to help each other in any way we can. I’ve never again questioned the meaning of life.
But how can I help people with their journey? One way is through music. Years ago when I was in my early 30’s — and long before I pondered the meaning of life — I was asked to sing and play guitar for a Wednesday night Lenten Service at Liberty Presbyterian. Although I had solo experience in the secular world, I did not have experience singing church solos. I was ‘unchurched’ as a child and baptized at the age of 23. The extent of my religious repertoire was Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me.
I decided to get a hymnal and pray that God would lead me to the right song. I said a prayer and flipped through the hymnal. It landed on a song I had never heard. I read the verses and then started picking the notes to learn the melody. I thanked God. It was a very cool song. I worked on it for a few days, checked it off my “To Do” list and didn’t give it much more thought.
After the service that Wednesday night, a young woman came up to me in tears. She told me that her father had recently died and she had been distraught. Her friend had invited her to this service and she reluctantly came. It turned out that the song had been her father’s favorite hymn, Lord of the Dance. And she felt that through that particular song, on that particular evening, God was telling her that her father was ok.
That was my first experience in knowing how music could really impact someone. From then on, I always say a prayer to myself before I sing a church solo: Dear God, please let this song touch someone’s heart. Amen.
I’ve been serving on the Stewardship Committee since last fall. Research tells us that the #1 reason that people support an organization is because they believe in the mission.
I believe in the mission of Dublin Presbyterian Church. Especially the music program.
I have seen our program at work inside these church walls through:
- Comments from the congregation on how the anthems enhance the service and personally touch them.
- The joys in the children’s faces as they play instruments and sing songs while participating in services such as VBS Sunday, the Christmas pageant and the Christmas Eve recital.
- And I personally experience the fellowship of belonging to the choir. We do more than just rehearse the anthems on Tuesday nights. We share our lives, support each other and pray for each other.
I have also witnessed the impact of our music program outside of our church walls:
- I’ve seen people in nursing homes with dementia whose eyes light up when we sing an old familiar song to them.
- I’ve witnessed homeless and marginally housed people at Trinity in the Garden lunches calm down and be comforted by singing songs together.
- Last week our choir was invited to participate in a community choir at King Avenue UMC for a Pride Service. The unity experienced within those walls was palpable as we sang ‘There are no strangers, there are no outcasts, there are no orphans of God.’
And the free concert series that Shane has spearheaded will help people inside and outside of the DPC walls. The one earlier this month raised money for the anti-bullying organization BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization). These concerts are used to bring people into our church so we can show the outpouring of love found in the DPC community.
This is why I support the mission of Dublin Presbyterian Church.
Later in the service I will be revisiting the song Amazing Grace, but this time with a beautiful contemporary twist. And I pray that it touches your heart.
June 14, 2016