Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Singing Is a Blessing

I went to hear Daniel J. Levitin speak awhile back. He wrote The World in Six Songs and This Is Your Brain on Music, neither of which I've read. His talk was inspiring, all about the ways humans communicate emotions through songs . At the end of his talk, we asked questions, of course. The last person to speak lamented the fact that regular people don't get much chance to sing anymore -- that music-making is now done only by professionals. I happened to be sitting in the front row, so Daniel heard me say, "We could sing something right now." And we did! He led us in "If I Had a Hammer"! It was a lot of fun. Right afterwards, people were energized and happy. One woman immediately got on her cell phone to announce: "At the end, we sang 'If I Had a Hammer'!" Several people thanked me for my inspiration.

This experience has stayed with me because I realize how very blessed we church-goers are to have the opportunity to sing every week. Regular folks singing in groups is now so rare that it is counter-cultural. But we get to experience this every weekend. I hadn't thought of our hymn-singing in quite this way before, even though we are a congregation that sings with gusto. I've been told that this is not always the case.

Sing it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sampagne and Leg Wrappers!

I was just reading about Personal Slanguage on another blog, referring to slang and made-up terms that enjoy use by a group of friends or family members and sometimes spread wider. I'm glad to know that there is a term for this because I have a couple:

Sampagne -- this is sparkling cider or any type of non-alcoholic champagne. (Martinelli's is one brand.) My spouse Sam does not drink, but loves this stuff. Any time we're having champagne (even at our wedding), we also have Sampagne on hand.

Leg Wrapper -- this refers to something that a woman finds sexy: because it makes her want to wrap her legs around someone. I made this up as a movie review term, so I could clue my girlfriends into date movies, but a book or other media could be a leg wrapper, also.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Joys & Sorrows for 500 (with Kids)

I've been present twice for Joys and Sorrows in our new Atrium Auditorium. Imagine a free-standing candelabra-type structure with ten cups for candles, arranged in a spiral. Two of these, a standing microphone and a minister holding a lit taper worked quite well for our ritual. No more putting candles into a small bowl of sand!

This past Sunday, I shared a joy (so I won't go up again for awhile). It felt great, but the best part was having children participate in Joys and Sorrows with their parents, lighting candles while their parents expressed milestones. Now that children are present during the first part of every worship service, they can get familiar with more of our rituals.

Of course, I heard a rumor that some people are unhappy with children being present. Some are unhappy that we are still doing Joys and Sorrows. I enjoy both and understand their importance to our congregation.