10 Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
- Isaiah 62:10
August 7 Hymn Sing
August 14 Pick Up Choir: Precious Lord, Take My Hand
When something big or important is on the horizon, it is usually preceded by a time of preparation. The Israelites gathered twice as much manna on the sixth day, in preparation for the Sabbath. Many spend the week prior to vacation packing, making, and checking off lists. Sharon Church is dedicating an entire year to preparing the festivities to mark the Bicentennial. The season of Lent, the months before a daughter’s wedding, the night before a final exam, the weeks before a surgery…all times of preparation. And there are probably more than a few readers of this article who know exactly how many shopping days there are left before Christmas!
For church music directors, that time is August. While most worshippers are still enjoying the last relaxed weeks of informal services, musicians all over God’s Kingdom are busy preparing for the fall and winter seasons. There are many details to consider: the pastor’s sermon topics, Lectionary readings, the timing of church holidays, Communion dates. Then there are more personalized items to think about, such as how to best showcase the abilities of the musicians in a certain congregation, how to most effectively reach the hearts of the worshippers there, how to strike a balance between slow and fast music, light and heavy, old and new, traditional favorites and creative stretches.
Add to that the separate planning for choir, children, bells, musicians, soloists, and special events, continuing education in technique, hours of
practice and composition- and one has a recipe for a harried music director.
But anyone who has spent time in preparation (say, chopping and kneading and cleaning on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving), knows that the work is done to ensure that when the event arrives, the focus can be on the event itself.
In our case, the event is worship.
All the hours of preparation are toward one goal: to create an atmosphere conducive to encountering the Almighty. Many at Sharon Church have the same goal in their work: the Pastor Nominating Committee, for example, or those who prepare Communion, or arrange for liturgists, ushers, counters, flowers, and Sunday School teachers. Those who compile bulletins and announcements, write sermons, or provide food for fellowship. All in preparation for the quiet moments of prayer and reflection, surrounded by the family of Christ and Christ Himself.
We encourage everyone to prepare their hearts for meaningful worship, both for the short and long terms. Do the “Martha” work the Lord has called you to do now, so that you may do the “Mary” work of sitting at the Lord’s feet when He comes.
And we don’t know about shopping days, but we can tell everyone that there are 15 Sundays between Rally Day and Christmas!
Mark and Treva
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