by Phil Miller–
Our responsive call to worship for the past few weeks recites a verse written about 300 years ago by Isaac Watts:
Join in a song of sweet accord . . .
Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God.
Flip the words of Watts and you might say:
Let all break forth in song
Who’ve known the grace of God!
It’s not boasting, in my view, to express my gratitude for having come from a musical family. My earliest memories include watching my father as a song leader or hearing the solos he sang in church. He never really learned to read music, but his mother was a song leader, and he grew up singing in church and school, so he had a good ear. My mother played the piano and saw to it that each of her four children learned to read music with piano lessons when we were young. My oldest brother could play piano and lead hymns at the same time—a great asset in his role as a pastor. My sister, now 78, still has an active career training Suzuki violin teachers throughout the Western Hemisphere. My brother Stephen, 76, plays the guitar and sings and writes songs and records CDs and performs regularly.
So, I was happy to be given the opportunity to join Woody Faulkner, Roger Culler, and Bill Lund last Sunday in a quartet—a song with profoundly emotional lyrics and intricate harmonies. What a pleasure it is to stand alongside others who enjoy singing!
Someone said, “You can measure the health of a congregation by its singing.” Which doesn’t refer to the choir, but to the pews. The history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) reaches back to the American frontier, where our forebears sang without instrumental accompaniment. For better or worse, you couldn’t hide behind the cover of a piano or organ. So, churches regularly offered singing lessons.
This Sunday (June 30th), our special music will consist of congregational hymn singing. We’ll have another such “hymn sing” on July 21st. Please “join in a song of sweet accord” even if you think your voice only adds a “dissonant chord!” Come, make a joyful noise. Let’s sing!