21 April 2015

The End of My First Year

I survived my first year of seminary!  Actually, that deserves a lot more exclamation points!!!!!  My last paper was submitted on the 10th, and since then I have been reading lots of non-school-books and watching lots of TV and movies and playing the piano (learning this Chopin waltz) and working through my to-do list that has been growing since January.

I will be heading "home" for a visit on Thursday, and then coming back here to start a couple of summer jobs in May - going back to my previous profession as a physiotherapist for the summer.

It was a good year, overall.  I have met some wonderful people; I have discovered a love for writing essays (yes, I know that I am slightly insane); I have grown in my confidence in so many ways; and my brain has been definitely been stretched.

I am excited for the summer, but I do miss the routine of school.  It will be good to get into a new routine once I start work.

(First year divinity students (minus one) being silly at the Informal Formal)

6 April 2015

All Creation Sings

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the "Aesthetic Expression for Worship" that I was working on as a class assignment.  It all came together a couple of weeks ago - a choir was recruited and practices were held, and then on March 24 we sang it for the class and on March 26 sang it during the school chapel service.

The practices were lots of fun.  We have some very talented singers with lots of choral experience here at the school - both students and faculty - and they are always happy to join an occasional choir.  At our first practice, it took a couple of times through to pull the parts together, but when they came together it sounded amazing - it sounded even better with real voices singing it than it did in either my head or with the computer playing it back to me!

At the first practice, I was a little bit nervous because there were choir members with a lot more musical knowledge and training than I have, but those nerves were calmed down when it all came together.  Then when we sang for the class, it went very well.

Singing it as part of the chapel worship service was another thing entirely.  I had nightmares about it the night before and didn't sleep well; and then after class before worship I had a panic attack - I felt like I was going to either hyperventilate or throw up.  I think that it was triggered by a realization of the absolute audacity of thinking that anything that I had created was worthy of worshiping God.  Fortunately, I have some wonderful classmates who prayed with me, and others who were praying as we sang the anthem, and we made it through.

I've done some reflecting on this experience, and have come to the realization that this is the case with all worship.  All liturgy - whether it is words that I have strung together or words that were written by another, or words that were crafted by a denominational tradition - is all created by humans; so how can it ever be worthy of worshiping God?  But then God takes our imperfect human offerings and lovingly receives them and makes them worthy of worship.

And so I have learned from the experience of creating, and I have learned from the experience of using my creation in worship.  It was a concrete reminder of the constant presence and action of God's grace whenever we gather to worship.

And without further words, if you would like to see and hear All Creation Sings as it was sung in chapel on March 26, you can click on this link.