“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body.”
–I Corinthians 12:12-13a
Coming to the end of another program year at St. Peter’s, I am reminded of these two words from scripture which continuously reorient our work of proclamation, prayer, and praise in worship. Every Sunday morning our community gathers to tell of Christ’s love for all humankind, to intercede on behalf of those in need, and to worship God, the creator of all things. Throughout each of these purposes and our life together as Christians, we sing.
We sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We sing laments and praises. We sing exuberantly and ponderously. We sing the words of great poets set to the music of great composers. We sing and sing and sing. Some among us cherish this song such that they take on a worship leadership role, and for these people we truly give thanks.
We give thanks for those singers who have led our songs so graciously. We give thanks for those singers who have sung for us what we might not have sung ourselves. We give thanks for instrumentalists who have enhanced our singing and brought it to fruition. We give thanks for the cloud of witnesses, in body and spirit, who surround us when we sing. We give thanks for the young, the old, and the in-between who have donated their time and energy toward proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in our midst. And we give thanks for the people sitting next to us who raise their voices alongside our own to create the voice of the church.
Yes, as First Corinthians remind us, each one of us is a part of the one body of Christ in the world. Apart from Christ, apart from love, we are nothing but noisy gongs (I Corinthians 13:1). With Christ, through Christ, in Christ, we are made into one body of believers through the Spirit.
Paul also reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians the source AND object of our praise: God.
God forms us as a people in our baptisms and gathers us together to worship. All good gifts come from God and, through our faithful stewardship of these gifts, God is glorified in these acts of service and love.
So, today give thanks to God for the gifts of service, particularly the time and talents so graciously stewarded in support of worship and music at St. Peter’s. Grace someone with a personal thank you, and let us all continue to sing God’s praises.
Soli Deo Gloria! (To God alone be glory!)