E-pistle June 5

Music from a Grateful Heart
 
From time to time our confirmation kids will ask if it is possible to confirm their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, but not to join the church. From time to time many of us may wonder about the possibility of the “I'll take Jesus, but hold the church” option. Sorry.  It doesn’t exist. When you open the door of your heart to Jesus, he holds it open and lets in all his friends, that ragtag band gathered from the streets and the alleys, the roads and the country lanes. When Jesus comes into your life, so does the church. I, for one, am glad that’s the way it is. 
 
Colossians 3:12-17 offers a compelling glimpse at the life together to which God has called us in Jesus Christ.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of such a band of brothers and sisters?  I’ve been thinking about verse 16 in particular as we approach the day of Edna Waterson’s retirement.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
 
I have experienced a season and a half of Chapel worship with Edna at the piano bench. Not long enough, by far, but by the grace of God a wonderful time.  Typically I pick the hymns for worship (though this week’s happen to be some of Edna’s favorites).  I know that whatever hymns are selected will be played from Edna’s heart of gratitude to God, and that as she makes the piano sing, and, yes, she does, so the congregation will sing.  From the heart.

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Do preachers ever worship?  Another good question I hear from time to time.  And the answer is, “sometimes.”  There are Sundays when the details and the choreography of the service kills the worship for the pastor.  (“Let’s see, the minute for mission went too long, do I can a hymn or cut the sermon?” “Boy, I thought this sermon sounded pretty good when I practiced it earlier, but I’m not sure it’s sounding good right now…”) For me as pastor at LPC, there are a couple of places and times during a Sunday morning when I’m pretty sure to be found worshiping.  One of those places and times is in the Chapel around 8:25.  That’s when Edna begins her prelude.  Typically an Edna Waterson prelude consists of a couple of pieces, often a variation on an old hymn tune or an interpretation of a more recent praise or gospel song.  And, yes, Edna can make a piano to sing.  As the piano sings, the words of the hymn or spiritual song, so often Scripture words, seep into my heart and I find myself worshiping in and from the heart. 
 
Do I worship on Sunday mornings?  Oh, yes, usually I do.  And one of the places and times I do is at 8:25 in the Chapel.  Thanks, Edna, for your ministry to my heart.

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I have said occasionally that I believe Edna to be the heart of our 8:30 worship, but, of course, I am wrong. The heart of the service is the word of Christ dwelling in us richly. Because the Christ’s word dwells so richly and faithfully in Edna’s heart, though, worship in the Chapel is worship from the heart – and for the heart. Thank you, Edna, for your ministry to our hearts.
 
See you Sunday …as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God.