Category Archives: Music

Musing: Worship in the Time of COVID-19

Sunday Morning Sun on Roses. Photo: TLClark, 3/15/2020.

The roses had graced the kitchen table for more than a week.
On Sunday they became altar flowers.

In this time of physical social distancing
and with a householder in a high-risk category,
we opted to worship God at home.

Come, let’s sing out loud to the LORD!
Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
Let’s come … with thanks!
Lets shout songs of joy…!

Psalm 91:1-2, Common English Version

There were plenty of options to watch worship.
But I opted to create something a bit more hands-on.
(It might have something to do with the ministerial training in me.)

After Worship, 3/15/2020. Photo: TLClark.
  • SINGING using a keyboard and the songbook Songs & Prayers from Taize;
  • READING from a Bible, the Revised Common Lectionary passages for the day (can be found online at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library);
  • PRAYING for others using an intercessory prayer from The New Century Hymnal;
  • LISTENING and humming, and singing along to the “Lord of Light” CD by the St. Louis Jesuits (Bob Dufford, S.J.; John Foley, S.J.; Tim Manion; Roc O’Connor, S.J.; and Dan Schutte);
  • and PRAYING as the Spirit led with paper and colored pencils.
John Praying with Colored Pencils. Photo: TLClark, 3/15/2020.

But the time is coming–and is here!–
when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23a, Common English Bible

In ordinary times we gather on Sunday morning with other Christians.
For now, this works.

Be well, Friends.

Please wash your hands
and keep a physical distance from others.

And, if it’s in your spirituality, offer a prayer today for patients and their families,
for the the many, many people working to care for those who are sick,
for researchers and lab workers,
for decision makers,
and for everyone who’s regular routine has been upended.

Violin Music

Grandma Marion’s Violin (an unplayable keepsake). Photo: TLClark, 9/24/19.

Sunday afternoon’s Des Moines Symphony Orchestra (DSMO) concert was the highlight of our weekend. An all Tchaikovsky concert. Familiar (especially to my beloved), beautiful music. Melodies and harmonies, rhythms and silence done well, really well. It was soothing and invigorating and healing.

The day began as planned – up early enough to take my beloved to a pick-up choir rehearsal before church. But by the end of worship, he was struggling to stand and in more pain than usual – a result of living with metastatic cancer for more than eight years. Extra strength acetaminophen, a little heat and some rest at home helped.

The music helped more.

Before the performance I figured the Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (1881) would be the least enjoyable piece on the program. I’m not usually a big fan of the violin. I could not have been more wrong. It was AMAZING.

Gil Shaham, the solo violinist, was AMAZING.

The piece, according to the program notes, was considered “unplayable” by the violinist Tchaikovsky hoped would premiere it. Watching Mr. Shaham play, I could see why – the fingers of his left hand skipped rapidly up and down the fingerboard on the neck, the bow in his right hand danced across the the strings, his whole body moved with the music. The sound was AMAZING.

I now like violin music. At least when it’s Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto played by Gil Shaham.

Grandma’s Old Violin. Photo: TLClark, 9/24/19.

Sing to [the Lord] a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:3 NRSV