Songs in My Head
For as long as I can remember, music has had the power to lift me up, brighten my mood, and chase away the dark. While I’m naturally sunny-side-up and often wake up with a melody in my ears, not every day starts with simplicity and joy. Often, I need to pray for God to remind me of a song to set the tone for the day. This is a prayer that always gets answered. Often it’s an old hymn, “O God Our Help in Ages Past” and “God Moves in Mysterious Way” are standards. This week, the following three bits of music have made it into my morning musical routine:
Ukrainian Jazz: Right before the beginning of the pandemic, I met with a new member at ECRC, Vitaly Golubok. Vitaly is Ukrainian by birth and musical by nature. Having lived for a bit in Eastern Europe myself, we had a lot to talk about. Vitaly is now singing tenor with our choir and has shared some music by his talented European composer friend, Paul Schaban. This Sunday’s worship service will begin with an awesome piece of new Ukrainian Jazz called “Praise to the Lord” by Mr. Schaban led by our choir along with a brass section. This song has been in my ear for weeks now!
Here Comes the Sun: One of the significant losses for me during the pandemic has been the absence of opportunities to play live music in public. The Broken Halos (musical collective of ECRC musicians) will be bucking this trend by playing a FaceBook Live show tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. We’ll be broadcasting live from the living room of Paul and Angela Buikema. It’s still February, but anytime there’s a day of 40 degrees or more, I start humming the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” I’m so grateful to actually be able to sing it tonight!
Getting un-Frozen: One precocious girl from our congregation started singing “For the first time in forever…” (one of the favs from “Frozen”) in her car seat on the way to school this week. Knowing that things are shifting around COVID school policies, she improvised the line, “For the first time in forever – I don’t have to wear a mask.” Hooray. Things are changing quickly in terms of our societal and political acceptance that COVID is here to stay (not a big hooray) and that we all now need to figure out how to live our lives together in this new era. Change will also be coming to the whole state of Illinois on February 28 when the indoor mask mandate drops. Again, hooray from my point of view.
With these changes, I’m hopeful that our experience of being together as humans — inside church and out — will take a big step forward. More faces, more smiles, more songs, maybe even more live music (!), more singing, more togetherness. It’s a season of opportunity to lean into the vision of our Elders to be one church united in worship, discipleship, and reaching out.
May God bless you with a good song or two, today.
– Pastor Gregg