As I thought about what to say to you this morning about the music ministry, I decided to reflect on the past year and three months.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I worried about all the things I really enjoyed doing which had suddenly been taken away with no sign of a quick return. When would I hear a live concert again? When would I be able to hear or direct a choir again?
As I was falling asleep one night, I remembered a conversation I had with my great grandmother when I was a boy (I was fortunate enough to know three of my great grandmothers very well). She told me about living through the 1918 pandemic. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but it came to mean a lot to me as I tried to remember what she said. In those days, it took a couple years for the Spanish flu to spread to their sleepy mountain town, but in 1920, she, her mother, father and two siblings contracted the flu. Everyone in the house was sick and her father died a week later.
Since he was the sole bread winner of the family, they were devastated. Times were so difficult that, for the next two winters my great grandmother and her siblings would have to spend the winter in an orphanage because her mother couldn’t afford to feed them.
I quickly realized how truly blessed I am and that my being asked to stay home and binge watch The Crown and Downton Abbey on Netflix was a minor inconvenience.
Then, I thought about the future and what choir would look like, what worship services would look like, what concerts would look like. Even though we got to hear wonderful solos and duets and concerts via live stream, it still didn’t take the place of the human connection felt within all of us. The need to worship together, to attend concerts together – even basic needs like putting on normal clothes or tie a bow tie.
I also realized that my great grandmother’s world finally returned to some form of normalcy, maybe not the normal she had known, but a new normal and that we would also find a new normal at the end of this pandemic. Worship services have returned, choir has returned, boys’ choir will return in August and a full concert season will return in September. In August, you will receive in the mail, a letter from me, as well as a listing of all the concerts and special services that are planned for the 2021-22 season.
When you think about stewardship this year, I ask you not only to think about your monetary contributions – which are absolutely vital but also to think about the stewardship of time. Time to attend a worship service or concert, or help with a concert reception, or take up tickets at the door, or usher, or sing in the choir – and if you can’t sing – help recruit. We all now have a better understanding of just how important time is. Time is our greatest asset and we certainly need your help as we rebuild our music program, worship attendance, and concert audience.
Thank you for YOUR time this morning and I hope to see you in person at one or all music events this upcoming season.