June 2014

Dear friends,

A few weeks before Ministers Spring School, Phil was remarking that he would love to sing Lotti’s Crucifixus but that it would probably never happen because you need 8 different parts.
It is a truly beautiful piece of music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ9dXLmRlpo&feature=kp) – short but quite complicated.

I thought about it and said that I knew of at least 5 people who would be attending Spring School who could read music and why not see if there were enough to give it a go?

More than eight people were at least vaguely interested so we set up a practice. Then realised we needed quite a few more. At one point we all felt that we would never get it right. The timing is difficult. The notes aren’t easy. One or two decided it wasn’t for them. Someone had to leave the conference early. One of the basses developed a sore throat – and we could not have done the piece without him.

In the end we were a 13 strong choir and we sang the work during the final Communion service. It was quite something. We came together and all sang the right notes in the right order. The end was not the best ending that we had sung – that was the easy bit and I think we were just so overwhelmed at having managed the beginning we weren’t quite concentrating enough. But we did finish absolutely together with a resounding “est” and then there was silence. Then the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the wine.
It was quite a moment.

There was a sense of the miraculous wonder of us all working together – that we had come through despair to sing something amazing – and not do a bad job of it either. The 13 of us felt truly brothers and sisters in Christ in that moment.
But we also shared something deep with those who were not singing, but listening.
Part of that we did not know until after the worship when I was able to ask what it sounded like for them.
“A beautiful rainbow wall of sound” was one comment. (Not sure it was quite that good, but thanks!)
If we had all been singing – it would have been something different – a hymn perhaps? Or a rehearsal? To make something a performance, you need to have an audience, a congregation.

I felt that this has taught me something profound – but I am not sure it totally makes sense yet. You are my audience and I need some feedback!

In some phases of life we, as individuals are the people of action – the do-ers of the community of faith. At other times – whether through choice of circumstance we have to be more still – to sit and be the audience. Both are needed in the community of faith in order together to make sense of our lives together, trying to live out the gospel in faithful performance as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is only by working together – whether through giving or receiving that we make beautiful music. Both are needed. Both are valued. Let us continue to try and work in concert together

God bless