A Wide Open Space
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 : For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.
I don’t know how you felt about our one-month choir vacation. I looked forward to it and then enjoyed it for a week. While having the time off was nice, it did pose some problems.
For one thing, I didn’t know what day it was. I have an infirm grip on this anyhow, but take away rehearsals for bells, Ensemble, Chorale and ESOL classes, and I also didn’t know where I was as well.
There were other problems as well. Without our special “choir seats” to sit in, we were thrown on the mercies of the nine o’clock congregation. I chose my seat carefully, trying to avoid those I knew who believed that sitting in any particular place enabled them to claim it in perpetuity. So, each Sunday, I chose a seat and cowered down, half-expecting to be swooped upon. My prayers worked, because no one accosted me. The experience did improve my prayer life.
Another problem is that we were more starved for friendship than we would have been otherwise. Our rehearsal time allows us to talk with each other (briefly as we learn anthems, to be sure) share the terror of going over a new anthem, indulge in inside jokes (as in “Does anyone have a problem with this passage or maybe your neighbor does?). And then we learn to depend on each other for direction and accuracy as we move from our places in the front of the sanctuary, scattering to places unknown and hoping that we chose a place to sit that is unclaimed.
I think that God has created experience so that we may have a time to learn music and a time to take a break from that, that we have guaranteed seats and we may have to find a safe place to sit and that we immerse ourselves in routine and we may give up our choir routines for a while.
“For a while” is a critical phrase. It’s good to have a break, as long as it doesn’t last too long. In a sense our life here on earth is “for a while.” We know that it will be over one day and then we may experience the life that lasts forever because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Praise God for routine and that lack of it, for an improved prayer life and for the community that nurtures us, wherever we go. Amen.