Taking Flight

As long as I can remember, I have loved to sing. I must have been only 6 or 7 at Hagley Primary School in the U.K when a rotund, grey-haired teacher strolled up and down the rows of earnestly singing students. His head would tilt as he listened for the slightest hint of dissonance among our voices. He taught us to take a deep breath and exhale slowly, carrying sound on our breath. I still remember him, though not his name, across the long span of 63 years!

I loved singing hymns during morning assemblies throughout the rest of my school years, and later, as a teenager in a small evangelical church, sang with a gospel band. We were led by an excellent musician and singer who managed to muster the troops into some kind of order.

I often wondered, though, why God apparently didn't give me the voice to match my love of singing. People sometimes assured me it had a "nice" or even "beautiful" sound, but I just heard a soft, thin, reedy voice.

A few months ago, after several years of singing only in the congregation, I joined the worship team at church. Determined to make the most of the raw material God gave me, I found some excellent voice tutorials on YouTube. I learned that a voice can be strengthened and built, just like any other part of the body.

I love harmony but am not a natural harmonist. I found harmony tutorials for the songs we sing, also on YouTube! And I have been practicing as much as time permits!

This past Sunday on one song during pre-service practice, I was excited to be able to hear the harmony in my head, and tune out the melody. It sounded beautiful. When it came to the actual worship time with the congregation, I had lost confidence in the harmony slightly. However, encouraged by my initial success during practice, I tried to find the harmony to the other songs that morning, while not being sure I was entirely on point.

Later, when I listened to the video of our live-streamed service, my ear was trained as keenly as that of my former music teacher. I could hear my voice, ever so slightly "off." I need to keep practicing until I am surer and more confident in the notes I am singing.

But I love that our worship team is a microcosm of the Kingdom of God. The ethos is to support members to take flight. Sometimes there is a fluttering to the ground in a flurry of feathers, but nature teaches us the necessity of risk-taking. Eventually, we will soar into the beauty of happy synchronicity.

Colossians 1:9-12 The Message (MSG)

9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson


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