Monday, March 1, 2010

Giving Up Not Singing for Lent

I've sometimes thought the Season of Lent must have been created to remind us that music may well be the most God-centered way for us to express our longing for a more perfect union with Him/Her. Written prayers we read by rote or confessions that don't confess anything or giving up chocolate for 40 days seem to me to miss the mark of Lent which is glory and not gloom. I've never gone much for sackcloth and ashes in Lent. I much prefer standing out in the garage singing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" or riding my bicycle down the park path letting Haydn's "The Spacious Firmament on High" scare the living daylights out of the kids and dogs within hearing. I have no intention of downgrading prayers, confessions and creeds - but when it comes time for me to let out the Spirit and to tell Christ how I feel about him and about the state of my soul and about my earnest efforts toward a deeper spiritual perfection, I find it more to my liking to sing my version of "Hallelujah (hey, try spelling that without looking it up) Chorus" or "Sing With all the Sons of Glory" or waiting for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to lift me up to repentance and to send me winging upwards with, "O, Thou, That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion."

Yes, of course, we all have our own way in spiritual disciplines, to all that is holy and divine. For me it has always been singing out like a madman. I'll tell you something, I once blew off the facing of a hand held microphone in a service by singing to excess, "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken." Remember, on the night of the Last Supper before Jesus went out into the night before Golgotha, he and his disciples "sang a hymn."

Lent is for singing, brothers and sisters. Where we sing and what we sing and how we sing is of course up to the singer. For myself, every day in Lent I sing half a dozen hymns. I generally like what I sing. I can only trust the Lord to like it too. That why I sing it.

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