Song for Rehearsal

Sanctuary-Choir-800x293A poem for the members of the Sanctuary Choir of Manassas Baptist Church, who have been through the valley a number of times, but who still keep singing.

Psalm 95:2: Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

It’s all so familiar

These notes on the page

The time (early evening)

The place, a room with chairs

Arranged in careful rows.

On one wall, a large “Friendship Quilt”

Hangs, with names of quilters long gone

Worked into the fabric.

In the front, a bulletin board

Displays of children and

Choir members past and present, (some gone on),

Next to a calendar

Where we record our projected absences.

On other walls,

Inspirational posters:

“I will sing to the Lord,”

“Make time for quiet moments,” and

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for

And certain of what we do not see.”

Our director holds forth

Behind her large metal stand to

Implore, cajole and persuade her charges

Through humor and other means,

To sit up straight, to pay attention to vowels

And for heaven’s sake, to breathe in the right places

Or carry over for measure after measure

Even if we run the risk of turning blue

And falling on the floor

For lack of oxygen to our brains.

We are a variegated collection of believers

Defined by personality, age, occupation,

Temperament and ability.

From where we sit, absent seasonal decoration,

It could be any month, any year, any weather, any point

In our shared history,

And so, much is the same.

In response, we lean toward our differences,

At the same time pressing on to

A desired unity of sound

And a purity of purpose,

We follow a transient thread,

Straining against the object nature

Of this world,

And sometimes,

Sometimes we glimpse

A purity of light and

Clarity of sound,

Part of the eternal nature

We seek in this world and the next.

We do so here and now in this space

If only we have eyes to see

And ears to hear

That which is neither

Here nor there.

But somewhere

In between.

 

Dan Verner

February 17, 2016

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