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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Sing, Pray, Listen to the Music of God" - Pastor Cindy's Devotion - November 8, 2017

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place. I can feel His mighty power and His grace.
I can hear the brush of angels wings.  I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

On Sunday morning we sang that song in worship.  It was a powerful moment.  Surely the presence of the Lord was in that place.  Music has an amazing ability to take us beyond words and notes.  Beyond the lyrics, beyond the sound of the piano or the trumpet, there is something holy.  It could be in the togetherness of singing.  Our voice blends with the voice beside us. Organ music and human voice together.  It might be because music is eternal.  Birds sing.  The wind sings.  Crickets sing.  On a summer night look up at the stars and you can’t help but wonder if they sing.  It could be because music carries such emotion.  Without a word, music can release joy, or playfulness, or deep sorrow.  It can soothe or energize.  Music can make our toes tap, our hips sway, or our shoulders relax.  People fall in love to the sound of music.  They pledge their lives to each other with musical prelude and postlude.  We say goodbye to loved ones and music that takes us back to moments shared with them. 

I think the power of music is in our breath.  We share the breath of God and when we sing we send the breath of God into the world. 

I am not a musician.  I only remember two songs in my home growing up.  One was a flirtatious little ditty my dad sang to my mom when he was teasing her.  The other was the lullaby my mother sang to my baby sister. 

For me, in many ways music has been a gift to me from the church.  I admit I had to warm up to it.  The old hymns and traditional music were a foreign language.  Now as I stand in front of the church, I feel as though the people sing over me, the holy breath of God released as we sing, a fresh baptism each Sunday

Tom Sletto is the Director of Music Ministries at our church.  He is an excellent musician.  He blends his education and training in sacred music with a clear sense of theology.  Each week he studies the scripture and the sermon theme and he selects music that he feels best supports the message for the day.  Our 8:30 worship is traditional.  The music comes from the rich historic library of church music, great old hymns that have poured out from faithful hearts.   

Our 11:00 worship is a casual service.  The music has a different flair, a different energy.  It is still holy, still passes over a threshold beyond mere words and notes, into the heart of God.  But it seeks to ignite our faith.  It is, honestly, more youthful. A fresh entry into the church. 

This week Tom came to see me.  He wanted to talk about the music at the 11 o’clock casual service.  The big question we discussed was “what is the best style of music for casual worship?”  What best connects God and the people in a casual service?  So we are re-thinking the music for that service.  We are looking for your ideas.  What is the best music for the people who attend that service?  What is the best music to draw people who are not currently attending?  Your thoughts?  This will also require new leadership.  Would you be willing to offer leadership? 

Just as music was at one time foreign to me, casual music is not Tom’s expertise. His training is in sacred music and theology.  It’s a brave and faithful thing for him to pose the question.

So we are re-thinking—which is another way of saying we are opening ourselves to the direction God is leading. 

There are three things I would like you to do today. 

Sing.  Because the world needs your song.

Pray.  About music and those who lead us. 

Listen.  For the music of God around you. 

Our hearts go out to the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

Every blessing,

Pastor Cindy

Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church

Like us on Facebook or visit us at wdmumc.org.

We worship at 8:30 and 11 on Sunday mornings and we would love to worship with you. 

This Sunday we begin a three-week sermon series called Healthy Minds, God, and Mental Health.  One in four Americans will experience some sort of mental health issue.  How can the church respond? 

Sunday from 4-6pm Dr. Lisa Little, a psychologist from Orchard Place will be here. Join us for a presentation and discussion about mental health! We will be learning about common mental health concerns from childhood through adulthood, as well as ways to support one another.

Wednesday Night Live!  As I write this Cindy O. is downstairs in the kitchen making meatloaf for supper tonight!  Supper begins at 5:30.  Join in the generosity adventure.  This is a free will offering.  Come and enjoy. 

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