Dear Grace Church family,
As many of you probably know, I travel a lot. With my wife Tori working on the West Coast for the last 18 months, I have racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles (I have flown over 57,000 miles since January alone). This summer, it felt like I spent about as many waking hours on a plane as in our apartment. I’m pretty sure I’m immune to jetlag at this point.
But here’s the part you may not know – I love every minute of it. I love the ritual of meticulously placing my clothes and toiletries into the airline approved carry-on bag. I love arriving at the airport and wheeling my bag along polished floors as I walk by passenger queues for Geneva, Lima, Rome, and Sydney. I love looking out the window and seeing the vast expanses of our planet from 33,000 feet. I love stepping off the plane and noticing the different temperature, humidity, and smell of a new destination. There is something about the adventure, about seeing a new place for the first time that inspires awe and wonder in me.
Last week, Tori and I drove up the California coast, passing through Big Sur. For 80 winding miles, we ventured along sweeping hills and steep cliffs that dropped hundreds of feet into the churning Pacific. From each curve to the next, the weather would change in an instant from hot and dry to cold and windy. Clouds rolled in off the mountains into the sea, as if blown by a divine breath. The sheer magnitude and majesty of those cliffs took my breath away. There was no question whom I was seeing that day.
I have been incredibly fortunate in my life to visit some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and each time, I feel that I’ve seen something holy. For me, the closest thing to that holiness that I regularly encounter comes through music. Every opportunity I have to sing or conduct a piece of music from another part of the world is, in some small way, a way to be a guest in that place. Every chance to explore this vast, beautiful, wild world is a chance to experience divinity, and we taste a small part of that divinity when we come together in song.
Each Sunday, we gather together to celebrate the love we share in community with one another and with God. And we are most united when we raise our voices together in song. Sometimes it’s a familiar song. Sometimes it’s from another culture. Sometimes it’s a song sung by many, or sometimes only a few. My favorite days at Grace include a wide range of music: something global, some gospel music or a spiritual, something contemporary, and something traditional. No matter what song we sing, if we bring our voices together in harmony, we experience something like divinity.
Maybe your voice is made to be raised in front of a crowd, or maybe it’s more comfortable joining quietly with others. No matter what, your voice belongs here – and it is beautiful. If you have ever thought about joining the choir at Grace Church, maybe now is the time – all are welcome, and no audition is necessary! (We have several “casual choir” Sundays planned that can give you a chance to get your feet wet without committing to our full schedule) Maybe you know a song that is missing from our worship; maybe you could even teach it to us! Or maybe you prefer to take part as a listener. In whatever way you feel comfortable in our ministry, we are grateful and blessed that you are here.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, whether in the choir or congregation, and I hope you’ll take a minute to chat with us – whether you want to participate as a singer or a listener, you are welcome to share the adventure!
With love and peace,