Monday, November 03, 2008

Wish I were a song writer

Among all of the stuff I've been doing lately, last week I stood in line for 40 minutes to cast my vote for Barack Obama. No matter how many times I go to vote, I still get a rush from stepping behind the screen and seeing the ballot. While my anxiety has gone down with the use of electronic ballots (no chance of punching the wrong hole and having to ask for a new ballot), I still have a moment of fear/anxiety/something when I hit the CAST YOUR VOTE button. What if I accidently voted for some random person? Anyway, I was glad to cast my vote and hope that everybody else gets out there to make their voice heard.

Yesterday, Sunday, I wished I were someone who wrote music that would inspire others.

10:30 worship service at Harpeth: On the first Sunday of each month, our congregation usually celebrates the Lord's Supper, and as a part of that ritual, we sing the classic vocal arrangement of The Lord's Prayer. This is always a meaningful experience for me, but yesterday I was transported to another place. You see, instead of communion, we had a candle lighting ritual to celebrate All Saint's Day. People were invited to come and light a candle in memory of someone who showed them what it means to be a person of faith. At that service I lit a candle in memory of Duke Walthall, an elderly man in my congregation back home who took an interest in me as a young boy. For some reason, I was drawn to this man, and he always took time to talk to me, listen to me, and encourage me in matters of faith and life in general. He was a retired pastor and was one of those people who, as the old children's sermon story goes, "the light shines through." As we were singing The Lord's Prayer, I watched the dance of the hundred or so lit candles on the table, and meditated on the generations of folks who had been saying those words through the centuries. As the voices of the congregation swelled to sing the final For thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory forever I could swear those little flames swelled as well, reaching as high as they could to offer praise to God. Maybe it was just the rush of oxygen as people sang louder in that direction, but I don't think so. I felt as if the Spirit was present, drawing praise even from those candles, just as the Spirit had drawn praise from the people those flames represented. It was a moment when I was acutely aware of the power of music to transform words into something more...that our souls were indeed praying not only the words, but also the melody to God. As I walked down the aisle toward the back door where I would greet people on their way out into "the real world," I wished I were someone who was able to compose music that inspired people to worship in grace and truth.


Anonymous said...

Don't assume that you're not a songwriter!

Give it a shot. And then give it another.