Sing! ~ The Rev. Robert Paresi, Aspriant
As far back as I can possibly remember, (and I’m in my mid-sixties, I’ve found that the forgettery is better than the memory, and I have probably forgotten more that I can remember,) but as far back as I can remember, music has always been an important part of my life. Music has soothed me, comforted me and got me through a bad day. I am what some may refer to as a frustrated musician. I was never able to master the discipline to play any type of an instrument, but not without a lack of trying; and try I did. The drums; the piano; the organ; the guitar, violin and even the accordion. Psalm 81:1-2 says, “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.“ But I realized the only instrument I might ever be able to master would be the CD, or the radio.
My mom raised me to attend St. Andrews Episcopal Church and I sang in the parish choir under the direction of Mr. Charles Johnsons, a man whom I admired for many reasons, especially his ability to master the keyboard of the church’s organ. I remember Mr. Johnson always referring to our voices as instruments. He shared many of his gifts of music and singing with the entire choir. He told us about St Augustine who spoke about the praise of singing and wrote that those who sang prayed twice. “For he that singeth praise, not only praiseth, but praiseth with gladness: he that singeth praise, not only singeth, but also loveth him whom he singeth.” In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.
After singing in the choir for many years it finally dawned on me that I had indeed mastered the ability to play an instrument, even if it was my own voice. So I tried to take care of my instrument and sang many years for what ever reason I felt I was being called to sing. I loved to sing, and sang semi-professionally for many years. One of my greatest memories, was singing “Ave Maria” for the Late Cardinal Terrance Cooke, of New York, who at the time was the Military Vicar. Psalm 95: 1-2 says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
It is my hope that we, like the herald angels in the Christmas carol, will continue to sing praise to our God and King not only during a Holiday season but throughout the year in church or wherever the spirit hits us. Songs of the heart go a long way in healing.
Psalm 47: 5-7, God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
Let us pray.
Oh Lord, please bless our music that it might glorify your name. May the talent that you have bestowed upon us be used only to serve you. Let our music be a witness to your majesty and love, and remind us that you are always watching, and listening, from your throne above. May your presence and beauty be found in every note, and may the words that are sung reach the hearts of your people so they will draw closer to you. May your Spirit guide us through every measure so that we might be the instruments of your peace, and proclaim your glory with glad voices. Amen.