Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday, April 17

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150

Up the stairs to the Music Department (as a member of the Chancel Choir, I take this trip frequently) a banner greets you: “Make a Joyful Sound Unto the Lord.” One of our anthems, “O Praise God in His Sanctuary,” says in part:
“... Praise Him in the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him upon the lute and harp; Praise Him in the cymbals and dances; Praise Him up on the strings and pipe. Praise Him on the well tuned cymbals ...”
I must have been born hearing music. It was always there. The story is that when I was about a year old, I would hear music on the radio, go to the piano, and try to pick out the melody. I began lessons as soon as a teacher thought I was old enough.
Music is a gift from God, though it took me a long time to realize it. In school, I was embarrassed when people would refer to my "talent." I didn't think it was anything special -- I could always hear music, sing and play, so I thought everyone could! It was part of my growing up when I began to realize that everyone couldn't, that it was a God-given gift for me to enjoy and treat accordingly.
I joined Summer Choir the year I affiliated with First Presbyterian, and became a member of the Chancel Choir right after that. I’ve enjoyed singing under two dynamic directors -- Jerry Crawford and Mark Wickens (both of whom have remarkable talents to share). Although not a true anthem, the following Oscar Hammerstein III lyrics (from “Carousel") carry me through many times (happy, sad, trying). I hope they may do the same for you.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm is a golden sky with the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind; walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on -- walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone. You'll never walk alone. Amen.

Barbara Gowans, 1996