Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Six services in eight days

If you needed proof that Easter is more important in the church calendar than Christmas, I think the count of services alone can provide some evidence! It's definitely the busy time of year for church musicians (as well as clergy, volunteers, and congregations, of course).

The interesting thing, however, is that while I spend more time in the church and play more hymns, I actually end up playing less organ repertoire. For one thing, guest musicians get put to work on Palm Sunday and Easter, but we also observe the continuity of the story by not having a postlude on Maundy Thursday and by having neither a prelude nor postlude on Good Friday.

During this week, we spend more time in silence. Our Wednesday evening services have also represented this meditative mood of Lent. At several points in the service, we observe a moment of silence. Typically, I'm a bit preoccupied with thinking about the next moment in the service, because it is often a hymn.

I appreciate the silence as the necessary canvas for the art of music, and I savor the change in pace from the noise of our lives. But I also wonder about the liturgical intention of those moments. Whereas the ELW sometimes notes very specifically the purpose of silence ("Silence for self-reflection," for example), at other places it simply notes, "A moment of silence follows." Is that a moment for prayer? For meditation? To listen? Or just to rest and take a moment to "be" rather than "do"? Maybe it can be all of those things, dependent on many factors.

I heard the host of "Radio Lab" preach on the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, and he noted that even though Abraham often spoke and even argued with God that when given such a strange order, the story progresses without recording any dialogue, simply an implied silence. Silence can be obedient or rebellious, empty or full of meaning. In the silence of this week's services, perhaps take a meta-moment to reflect on the very topic of silence.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I think there is really no such thing as "silence," since we are always talking to ourselves except in death. Maybe that is at least one metaphor for the Lenten silences?