Devotion: Into the presence of God
On September 23, 2014, long-time bass section member, Tim Sheie, shared this devotion prior to rehearsal.
(addressing the Choir in American Sign Language):
A few of you know that I was teaching deaf students for ten years before my job changed and technology increased and things changed. ASL gives you the amazing ability to use phenomenally expressive language without any sound ... rich meaning without sound.
Let's contrast that with your experience attending a great Minnesota Orchestra concert--in essence, the opposite of the ASL experience: it's all tone and sound with no language. Sound without meaning. I've often joked with my wife at Orchestra Hall after a concert, saying "..their intonation was perfect, but their diction was terrible."
The power of these texts that we have been entrusted with-- they will be a gift we share with audiences only if the diction isn't terrible, if the craft of singing does not get in the way of understanding the rich meaning of the words..
Ah,yes-- words. They can persuade, convince, explain, teach, comfort, and caress. They can also cut, hurt, destroy, tear down, distract, and confuse. Germans naturally come up with a great word: schlagwort – literally as if to ‘hit’ someone with words.
Jesus asking Peter if he, too, would leave him, and Peter responds as we do too: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life..."
In an interesting article posted recently about church choirs, the writer mentioned a church that has “a loft full of singers, 300 people in the choir. “But their main function,” he said is to “be an army of worship voices leading the people of God into the presence of God.”
Every time we’re together, be a child of God leading the people of God into the presence of God, using the gifts and the music and the words God has given you.
Lord, let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart be acceptable to you, our Rock and our Redeemer.