Ours is a small choir. Tonight it was large; about 12 people. We are rehearsing for Thanksgiving and Christmas services. Most of the singers are chorally hungry, persons who love singing complex parts and rhythms. While our church is predominantly contemporary in sound, there is a wonderful freedom for diferent groups to explore their own sounds, their own "voices." So it's been really fun for me to start singing in a choir again after a 21 year absence. I tap my foot to the cadence, trying to keep up and not get lost.
But tonight, our director asked me and Diana (our associate pastor) for some hymnal "nuggets" that we could all sight read for 30 minutes at the end of the practice. Since I'm preaching on "Doubt and Trust" from Matthew 6:25, I went to the hymnal and, along with Diana, sent our director several hymns I have not sung for years. One hymn we sang together was hymn #445 "We Search for Language to Explain" by Jeannette Lindholm. We sang it through once, getting the feel for it, then again. The lyrics are powerful witnesses to a faith that speaks truth:
"We search for language to explain the sorrow of our years, the pressing, neverending strain of crushing loss and fears. God's seeming deafness to our cries can lead us to despair, and yet a suff'ring Spirit sighs though we are unaware.
"God's silence sretches like the sea, consoling every shore, safeguarding tears of memory, of happiness, remorse. God's still, calm presence still sustains when words come to an end, Our God has promised to remain a loving, list'ning friend."
When we were done, none of us could speak. Eyes were red and we paused for that holy moment together. When text and tune come that close together, a spiritual harmonic was set loose and we savored a holy nugget.