May 5 Devotional

Over the past several weeks many choir members have worked to independently record their vocal parts to submit for “virtual choir” recordings. Thanks to Nelson Wilkinson for all his work to put them together. Rev. Dr. Barbara Ingram, soprano, offered this beautiful devotional, after we struggled in our isolation. Read her words and then enjoy one of the choir’s recordings, entitled “You Are Mine.”

“Let us consider how we may encourage one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not neglect the coming together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25a)

As we worked in our own homes to learn and record the singing of the anthems, the above Scripture continued to speak to me.

Now when I tried to record the song, I found that I could not hear the notes I was to sing. Why? Because in choir practice, with each of the singers, I am listening for my notes on the piano, yes, but also from my section singers as well. Not only am I listening to my section singers, I am also listening to the other sections, to be sure I am not singing flat or sharp. Such is the way a “sing by ear” person tries to “be of one voice with the whole.”

I also found that I was not able to “hear” when to come in or how long to hold the notes. Not because I cannot count the notes or rhythm, but because I depend on our leader to direct me. I found I needed each of the singers to sing at my best!

Isn’t that just like our Christian walk?  We may have talents like the ability to read music, sing by ear, a voice that can carry solo singing, photography skills that capture the movement of the musical sounds, technology that can blend our individual recordings into beautiful worshipful music, or even the leadership to take each talent and direct each individual into a magnificent sounding whole that glorifies God and leads hearts to God as Savior and Lord.

We need each other to “spur us on” when we are afraid of a new way to sing — and that recording was intimidating, to say the least! We need each other to “encourage us toward good deeds and love.” It can be hard, week after week, to even get up and get dressed when we are isolated. After all, isn’t part of being in prison isolation? Boredom sets in, and we find it hard to stay encouraged to do good deeds.

And yet, when we Zoom choir, just for fun and fellowship, when we connect on the church website for worship, small group or Sunday School class, we find our spirits are encouraged and we are up lifted, even experiencing the gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

So beyond connecting with those we “do” worship, small groups and Sunday School class with, let us reach out to those who are not connected: A neighbor invited to your class, a choir member from another church invited to your small group.  Let us help others stay connected to Jesus, our church, the ministry, our family. Let us reach out in love and ministry, sharing with each other the ways we have found connection in sharing the Good News. Jesus is risen! He lives! He lives in each of us!

Shalom,

Barbara Ingram