Thinking Together Column 12/13/2016

I was blessed to hear Sunday’s choral presentation twice.

The first time, I was baptized in lyric and harmonies so deep and luscious that my heart overflowed with gratitude. We were presented a masterful work from poet and composer (our Austin Echols).

The second hearing resulted in a second baptism and a deeper hearing, richer than the first, because I realized the people who were literally making this music were my friends, colleagues, fellow journey   travelers. These volunteer choir members were uniting as one to interpret words and notes into a living, breathing expression of praise, story, and testimony like I’ve never heard so clearly. It made the masterpiece that much more sacred and beautiful.

A visitor off the street who came to hear the music but knew neither the choir nor the composer would surely have had a profound experience.

But, to know stories from members of our choir, to have walked in faith with many of them for decades, to recall in a glance the pain they’ve borne, the perspective they hold, the possibilities they’ve yet to realize is to turbo-charge the musical experience.

It was a day of wonder which I hope to retain for a long time.

Then, Sunday evening’s fun program of music. To behold such diverse people at various stages of life and musicality, the range of instruments, the high level of music from this volunteer assembly, and the coordination of author, director, musician was heart-warming and just pure fun.

The poet and priest Gerald Manly Hopkins wrote, “Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his….” Sometimes you can see this truth deeply, as I did on Sunday at Highland Baptist Church, where people humbly and courageously played and offered gifts to the Christ child. And the Kingdom comes.

So from your ministry staff please hear our gratitude for each of you who make up Highland Baptist Church. We are honored to serve alongside you. May Christ be born again in us this Christmas!  ~ Joe