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Friday, August 27, 2010

Dilemma in Music Ministry

In church music, we basically live from Sunday to Sunday, and, in my case, Wednesday to Wednesday for rehearsals. There is the planning and preparing of worship experiences and the planning and preparing of the rehearsals for those worship experiences. The normal challenges are "what are we going to sing" and "how many choir members will be there."

This week presented another challenge - a dilemma.

Our organist had already requested time off this weekend so that she could celebrate her 50th Wedding Anniversary away with her husband. (OK, everyone together: "Congratulations!")

So, our pianist/keyboardist had been preparing for weeks to be the sole accompanist by practicing on the organ. She had also been practicing to accompany the choral anthem which is normally done by our organist (although usually on the piano) who is our paid accompanist.

This past Wednesday, when I went into their rehearsal time, I discovered that her niece by marriage had been placed on life support and her death was imminent. All of a sudden her, and our, weekend plans were in limbo.

Later, in choir rehearsal, our pianist came in to rehearse the anthem with the choir and told us that she had received word of her niece's death - now, I had a dilemma.

Our organist and I began to discuss varying solutions: call churches in the area, call the state convention office, call the colleges/universities in our area, etc. We decided to wait until Thursday and see what the plans and arrangements were going to be.

Thursday is my day off, so Thursday morning I began to complete my personal agenda items including a much needed haircut.

As I left the stylist's home/shop, my phone rang. It was our pianist. Although the funeral arrangements were not complete, she in consultation with her sister and her daughter was already en route. Her plans were to be with the family until Friday evening when she and her daughter would began the return trip home which would be completed Saturday afternoon. So, she would be here for the services and the anthem. (Here you should sense a great sigh of relief on my part.) The dilemma was resolved.

However, it does beg the question of what would I do if a similar scenario should present itself again. Plan B also needs a plan C.

Here in conclusion, we can find a lesson of trust - trust in God. Our anthem for this Sunday is:

Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And be of good courage for He is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord;
And rejoice for the vict'ry is yours.

("Be Strong in the Lord" by Linda Lee Johnson and Tom Fettke; (c) Copyright 1979 by Main Stream Music.)