Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Take a break

It's a busy week for me, full of exams. We all have weeks that get a bit hectic or challenging for a variety of reasons, and I'm always reminded that they seem to go better when I have a break to work out, to listen to music, or to practice the organ or piano. It's important to step back from our busy, project-filled lives to have time to breathe and reflect on what's most important to us.

That's true not only at the level of our daily lives but within worship as well. Sometimes the logistics of worship can distract us from a prayerful attitude. Sometimes the repetition and the ceremony overpower the meaning. I recently reread a quote from an Anglican priest named Gordon Giles who wrote several books and articles on church music. On this issue he wrote:

"We say 'Lord, have mercy' so frequently that it can seem unremarkable and automatic, and seeking God's mercy in worship can become so common and instinctive that we barely notice that we are doing so. Similarly, we tend to sing hymns without thinking about what we are really singing to ourselves or to God or to each other...The Kyrie is all about seeking forgiveness, not only for ourselves, and for any individual sins we feel we may have knowingly or unknowingly committed, but also for the sins of the world, past and present, which, as we study history or read our newspapers, we very much lament."

It's important for us to sing and listen thoughtfully in worship. The tune and the text are simply vessels to convey deeper truths. This week take a moment to focus your attention on the text of our hymns and to the kyrie especially. Let your meditation refresh your spirit for the busy week ahead.

PS For my non-Ohio readers, there was a bit of snowfall here today. Christmas planning suddenly seems ever-so-important!

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