Monday mornings, life gets a tad tedious here by the organ bellows. So I sneak up to the church office for some serious on-line conversation with my fellow church mice. No, I’m not worried I’ll be caught. The pastor religiously participates in some kind of ritual that involves hours of walking on a grassy field and some swift swooshes of a metal stick—these punctuated by a string of words that I never hear from the pulpit.
“We are what we eat.” Anyone who’s suffering the cumulative effect of too many ice cream sundaes knows that’s true. But when it comes to matters of spirituality and faith, I’d like to suggest, we are what we sing.
Music has the uncanny ability to burrow its way into our spiritual bones. Even when we are tired or depressed, old songs well up from within us and dance on our plaintive whistling lips. When we are old and can remember little else, we are still likely to recall the songs we learned in our childhood.
The worship bug first bit a long time ago—back in high school when I sang in “Gospel Press,” a church youth choir directed by Sonny Salsbury. But more on that later. Ever since then, my spiritual journey has taken me through various expressions of a movement some call a “worship awakening.”
To invite the congregation on a thoughtful Lenten journey, Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, adopted a two-pronged program that sought to harmonize corporate and personal times of reflection and worship and to deepen the congregation’s understanding of the emotions of Passion Week. Our entire Lenten series prepared us for the drama “We Were There.”