L. Gail Irwin is an interim minister in Wisconsin and the author of Toward the Better Country: Church Closure and Resurrection (Wipf & Stock). She blogs at From Death to Life, part of the CCblogs network.
I started singing in church choirs when I was a teenager. There I learned to read music and find acceptance among the grown up singers. It was my church’s choir director who helped me find my spiritual voice again after a car accident that fractured my larynx. I went on to study vocal music, compose hymn lyrics and sing in choirs at my college, seminary and several churches over the years.
There is a special kind of relationship that forms among choir members. Something about those rehearsals, with their jokes, irritations and prayer rituals, creates a spiritual bond that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
I had a massage from an excellent massage therapist recently, and discovered my body is full of knots. What was supposed to be a relaxing experience became a confrontation with unaddressed pain, as I discovered that I am in pretty bad shape.
Hope is the name of one of the waitresses at my favorite café. She waits tables with eager determination and a bird-like alertness as she darts around the place making sure everyone is happy and well-fed. She always seems cheerful, with her sing-songy voice and a tendency to call everyone “Honey”.
Years ago, on a Holy Land tour, I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, considered by some Christians to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. I went back a few days later to a Sunday worship service of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and found it was conducted in a small alcove of the church for an ethnic Syrian congregation of about 50 people.