A 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,
“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,
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.
February 17, 2016