Some days I have “ah-ha” moments. You know, that realization or point of epiphany where suddenly you stop for a second and everything just seems to make sense. One such moment happened yesterday morning.
Among the different hats I am currently wearing, I am serving in a local congregation as their interim worship and music director. When I began this role, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I looked at the needs, expectations and hopes for my work in this and knew it was ambitious. I was also a little worried that Wednesdays might be become a bit ridiculous. You see, on Wednesday my schedule in this congregation has me there from about 7:30am to 8:30pm. That’s realistically a 13-hour day, though I do make sure to get out of the office and usually the church building for lunch.
My fears about Wednesdays haven’t really materialized. Sure, I’m definitely tired after a long day. But so far each and every long Wednesday has been rewarding. This is where the “ah-ha” comes. I finally realized why I have been energized each Wednesday.
“Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.”
Every Wednesday morning since beginning in this role, my day at work has started with “Morning Prayer” or “Matins.” It’s about a half hour time of prayer and worship with singing, chanting, reading(s), and a short reflection. I was a little skeptical at first that I would have to be at church for such a long day to play piano for that service, through leading the rehearsals of a couple different choirs at the end of the day. Hear the “I” in that sentence. I was pretty inward focused. Since starting though, I honestly think my day and stance about somethings have been transformed.
I don’t generally write or reflect about spiritual practices. But Wednesday Morning Matins is definitely a spiritual practice. My long day starts out with a faithful group of people in praise. It’s inspiring really to be part of such a community. Granted, the vast majority of those participating are retired, but not all the people. The ringleader of the group is definitely its’ spry 102-year old matriarch. She is always in charge of the treats and fellowship afterwards.
Let me stop there, the Matins service has provided me a chance to be grounded in ways I never expected. It weekly reminds me deeply about who I am, why I am doing what I am doing, and that what I am doing is part of my vocations as well as my relationship with God. That reminder hit me yesterday. I was trying to slow down the congregation on a song, and they would have none of it. They wanted to keep the tempo up and sing with their whole hearts and souls. I relented. In that moment, I knew what they knew. They were “singing to the Lord with shouts for joy to the rock of their salvation.” So was I.
Some days are a surprise. Here I thought that Matins and 13-hour days would be crazy long. Instead, they are both gifts. Weekly they remind me. Weekly they ground me. And weekly they begin in worship and those long days end in fun rehearsals with great musicians and people.
In the midst of the work that I have been called to do in this congregation, to help the congregation become a body closer together, I have found a way that grounds me and reminds me of the deeper reasons for that work. Thanks be to God.
Have you had any surprise experiences grounding you and reminding you why you do what you do? Do you have any faith, meditation, or spiritual practices that you participate in regularly that provide meaning and connection?