America’s beloved children’s choir expert, Helen Kemp (now in her 90’s), has a wonderful chant which she uses regularly with her children’s choirs and in her workshops with adults:
“Body, mind, spirit, voice, it takes the whole person to sing and rejoice!”
This wonderful chant has become Helen’s guiding principle throughout her ministry. It reminds us that singing is not only the physical act of the vocal chords and the breath, but an act that involves the whole body, our minds, and our spirit. When we sing, our whole being is in engaged in proclaiming our faith. Each time we sing together we engage in an activity that builds community; a form of meditation and prayer, and a form of praise and proclamation. Singing together helps us share in the joys and the sorrows of those in our community. When we sing together we give and receive a wonderful gift.
I love the following poem by Thomas Troeger. It is one I’ve shared before. The beautiful imagery in the poem captures this communal aspect of the songs we sing together both in worship and in fellowship.
We need each other’s voice to sing,
each other’s strength to love,
each other’s views to help us bring our hearts to God above.
Our lives like coals placed side by side
to feed each other’s flame,
shall with the Spirit’s breath provide a blaze of faith to claim.
We give our alleluias
To the church’s common chord:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise, O Praise, O Praise the Lord!
- Thomas Troeger
© 1994, Oxford University Press.
Reprinted with permission
OneLicense.net # A717214
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ben Keseley, Minister of Music