Thursday, April 07, 2005

Singing in Church

At meeting last week I had a song running through my head the entire time. It's a hymn from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal based on an African song.
There is more love, somewhere.
There is more love, somewhere.
I'm gonna keep on, 'till I find it.
There is more love, somewhere.

There is more peace, somewhere...

There is more hope, somewhere...

There is more joy, somewhere...
The song played over and over again like a mantra for the entire hour of silent meeting. There was no "vocal ministry," which means that no one stood up to speak. The song played on without interruption.

About forty-minutes into this endless repetition I began to question if it was a message. At which point my pulse started to race and my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and my hands felt shaky.

By the time I decided it really was a message and I should stand and sing, I didn't think my voice would actually come out. And at the moment I decided that it didn't matter if my voice shook, I just needed to stand up and get it over with... it was the "rise of meeting." People broke the silence by shaking hands.

This was the early meeting, where they have the tradition of everyone introducing themselves. They started at my section and the second person to introduce himself said that he had actually been moved to speak but he hadn't done so because the message didn't feel worshipful. So he shared his message after introducing himself.

When it came to my turn I said that I too had been moved to speak, but my message was a song and I'd been too shy to sing it. So then I sang.


Blogger Jim Holthaus said...

I think this is a beautiful story. Thanks very much for sharing it.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

This is inspiring. It sounds like what Taize music is supposed to be.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Liz Opp said...

I have come across a story about George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, that reminds me of your experience.

Fox, as I recall how the story goes, had an experience of feeling called to go to a certain place and preach to the people there. He had put it off and put it off, and finally he could not delay any further, so he finally set off by foot (this was 17th century England, after all).

Shortly after he headed that way, as I remember it (which may be faulty), Fox felt he was "released" from that call. What he took from that, then, was that it was important to be faithful in the moment; that being faithful in intending to carry out the leading was, in this case, the equivalent of having completed the act itself.

Or that's how I remember reading the incident in Fox's journal, anyway.

It seems to me that you were faithful in your intention to share what was given to you, and for whatever reason, you were released, this time, from sharing it... Or perhaps you were released in the moment because Way would open for you to share the message in a new way, after worship was broken.

Sometimes I think we are the pump being primed for further use, and that God gives us little nudges and small inward prompts in order to discover if we are ready to be the messenger, the faithful servant, for something bigger yet to come...

Thanks for this story, Kiara.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

9:09 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

I think the frequency of this kind of experience is a sign that more Meetings ought to be holding longer meetings for worship. I don't mean six hour marathons, just maybe 90-120 minutes.

1:52 PM  

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