Sunday morning, you arrive at church, you choose a seat in the sanctuary. A lovely piece of music floats from the organ and a contemplative silence settles over the room as the congregation assumes an attitude of prayer. This music is the Prelude, and it signifies a time of meditation, of preparation for worship.
Except … not always.
At least, not always at the beginning of the worship service at Hamilton Trace Assisted Living. We’ve shared before about the beautiful things that happen when ministering in a facility designed to assist the elderly.
We’ve seen people who don’t smile much begin to radiate love and people who don’t generally talk with others strike up conversations with those sitting in proximity. And people who are usually quiet and unobtrusive … well, we’ve heard them burst into song.
This happened recently during the Prelude, a short but prayerful piece, at the beginning of the service. Several people recognized the melody and began to sing the lyrics – singing, as John Wesley wrote, “lustily.”
It was disconcerting at first. We don’t sing during the Prelude. But in Directions for Singing, John Wesley wrote that “Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself….”
So, maybe it was a bit unorthodox, but it was such a blessing to those of us who heard, and who felt through the Holy Spirit, that this singing was “…such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.” (Ibid)
For what more can we ask?