Special thanks to Leah Bergman, a soprano in the NLC, who shared this devotion with the choir prior to rehearsal on August 1, 2016. Leah will be leaving the NLC after the choir's trip to New Orleans for the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Although we will miss her dearly, we wish her all the best on her new journey in Iowa.
As many of you know, my life has changed significantly since the last time I saw you all. On June 10th, I moved down to Iowa City, Iowa, my hometown, to start a new full-time position as the Minister of Worship, Music, and Children’s Programs at First Presbyterian Church.
My Mom retired from this church after almost 20 years service and I am taking over her job. This is not just a huge transition for me and my life, but a time of transition and change for the church as well.
In typical church-work fashion, my first day was long day. It started bright and early with helping lead at Vacation Bible School, then getting acquainted, learning about the job, and meeting with staff, then ending in the evening with a worship council meeting. As her final devotion before this meeting, my Mom suggested we all walk the labyrinth on the church grounds. She explained that typically, one enters the labyrinth with a specific question or intention in mind, meditates on that intention at the center of the labyrinth and then walks out listening for God’s answer or inspiration. Needless to say, I had a lot of questions and worries swirling through my head on my way in to the labyrinth after this first overwhelming day at a brand new job. But the moment I stepped away from the large rock at the center of the labyrinth onto the path back, all the questions stopped swirling and a single line of music started playing on repeat in my brain.
(sung) “by paths as yet untrod…”
I sang it in my head over and over trying to figure out what piece of music this solitary line of music was from. As I worked my way backwards in the music, discovering each line of music that preceded this line, it finally came to me that of course, I was singing Aaron McDermid’s setting of “Lord God, You Have Called Your Servants.”
Half way out of the labyrinth, tears in my eyes, I heard God singing those words to me and this church, letting me know that was going to be OK. But it wasn’t just God; it was God singing through the loving, reassuring voices of the National Lutheran Choir. The voices of the NLC singing these words in my heart has been a comfort and grounding for me as I venture out on this new path.
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Photo by Stephen Geffre: stephengeffre.com