Week of: January 12, 2020
Scripture: Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all."
(Acts 10:34-36, NRSV)
I always get a kick out of seeing my choir's reactions to the different anthems we sing in any given rehearsal. One member will smile and sway along as we sing through a gospel song while another will groan and say, "This isn't my style." One member will sing out with joy on a classical anthem while another will roll her eyes and say, "Too stuffy for me." For just about every piece we sing throughout the year, it's pretty much guaranteed that there will be at least one person who will love it and another who will plan to be absent on the morning that anthem is sung!
The diversity of the choir challenges me to be impartial and strive to present a wide variety of musical styles that will appeal to its various members. If I catered only to my own tastes, someone's musical soul might not be fed, and I would miss out on the chance to provide words or melodies that would enrich and inspire each individual.
In many ways, the choir is a microcosm of our faith communities and the wonderful variety of people we, as worship leaders, are called to serve. Whether it's leading a worship committee, a dance group, a music ensemble, or an artistic design group, we need to remember that "God shows no partiality," and God calls us to be unbiased as well — providing a rich variety of artistic experiences to feed the souls of a beautifully diverse population. What a great privilege!
Dear God, help us to put aside our own biases so that we can allow your Holy Spirit to flow through us and out to all those we serve. Open our minds to the wonderful richness of variety in worship so that we can reach all who need to feel your presence. Amen.
Director of Music Ministries
Herndon United Methodist Church
Photo: Pearl Shangkuan rehearses with the Chamber Choir at Waynesville First UMC during Music & Worship Arts Week 2019. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)