This past Saturday, I was asked to play the organ for a memorial service at a church that I served going on 10 years ago. The service was for a wonderful gentleman, who was a tower of the church, both literally and figuratively: he was that really tall guy who sits in the back row of the bass section, week after week without fail, serves on important committees, is always willing to lend a hand to better the church community. I describe him in general terms, because every church has one of these people, and if you just think for a moment you can identify him or her!
I was struck by the power music has to heal people at these events. I was invited to play because there was a request for a half-hour concert, and people remember my playing as a powerful thing even though I only served that church for a brief time. The church was full, the choir sang beautifully – emotional settings of “Amazing Grace”, “Come Sunday”, and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” – and people sat in apparent calm.
Sometimes it takes tragedy to really see the need for music – a gift from God that is impossible to understand or quantify – and yet it is with us almost every moment.