Serving as cantor (leader of the people’s song) for Higher Things in Nashville was great! I played the organ, directed the choir, and worked with the instrumentalists. The staff was superb, the participants were perky, and the liturgy was loud. But Higher Things is more than a momentary mountaintop of momentous musical moments.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his book Life Together: “It is the voice of the Church that is heard in singing together. It is not I who sing, but the Church. However, as a member of the Church, I may share in its song.”
The song of the Church is what we sing and teach at Higher Things. Jesus—for me and for you! As I traced the sign of the cross, I was reminded of my death and resurrection in Holy Baptism—and that there is nothing worth comparing to this life-long comfort sure. Together with youth and adults, pastors and laypeople, we joined with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven in their continuous song of praise—a song that has no end. We ate and drank Christ’s Body and Blood—the festival to which the Lord invites us.
If it hasn’t sunk in yet: the music of the Church is all about Christ. It simply sings God’s gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation. We sing about Jesus because…well…we need the gifts only He can give. And we need them throughout our lives as saints and sinners. These gifts are poured on our head, preached in our ears, and placed on our lips. We leave His presence in His peace, renewed again. And again. And again.
So keep singing. You’re part of a great and awesome chorus filled with all believers in Christ across time and space. Blessing, honor, glory and might be to God and the Lamb forever—amen!
(Hymn quotations from LSB 594, 161, 458, 602, 155, respectively)
Paul Soulek serves as cantor at St. John Church and School, Seward, Nebraska.