Monday, June 4, 2012

When Music Unites the Churches

Sunday night, June 3: our last official singing engagement for the 2012 Pilgrimage of the Notre Dame Folk Choir, and it is a fitting gem for this long journey of song and prayer. For on this night, we sang a unique service of hymns, litanies, and psalms, all focusing on a particular aspect of the lived Christian experience. And we sang this service in a neighboring parish, one that would bring together two families, Presbyterians and Catholics.

Each part of the service was dedicated to a dimension of Christian life: journeying, studying, engaging in mission, praying. And for each of these, there was an accompanying Scripture passage and reflection, along with a song. It was, in a sense, a sort of Ecumenical Lessons and Carols service, jointly led by representatives of both denominations.

There was even an unanticipated moment in the evening: the pastor, Rev. Alistair Keil, sought out the names of all our graduating seniors, and before the end of the service, had each of them stand and be recognized. It was an unexpected moment of sensitive recognition on the part of this extraordinary parish.

But lest anyone skim over the significance of this evening gathering... Oftentimes I found myself, at several moments during the service, simply in awe of the fact that two once-estranged denominations actually willingly elected to pair themselves together in a mutual commitment of shared faith experiences.

The prayers were real and genuine, there was a heartfelt letter read, conveying the best wishes of Cardinal O'Brien (who had attended our concert at St. Mary's Cathedral on Friday night).

It was the final musical offering of our choir on this amazing 2012 pilgrimage, and a fitting, ecumenical acclamation to our journey – a true statement of how powerful it is when love unites churches that were once estranged.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh, Scotland

1 comment:

  1. Steve, the work you and your choir does is astounding and inspiring! For all the years we have been friends, you still give me ideas of how to bring people together and hopefully closer to God's Kingdom on earth! Thank you!