This will be the back page for the Fishkill United Methodist Church bulletin for 26 November 2017 (Christ the King Sunday, Year A). I will be singing a solo this Sunday (hence the references to “Come Sunday” by Duke Ellington; I hope to have a video of that to put in on Sunday).
The back page writings will take a break during Advent to allow others to share their gifts and resume after the first of the year.
Music has always been, in some form, a part of my life since I was in Junior High School. Now, it should be noted that that I am not the best musician in my family. That honor goes to my brother Terry and my youngest daughter Meara.
I started playing in the band and then moved on to the church choir. When I began lay speaking, I was fortunate to have ministers who showed me how to include music in the service, both with the hymns and combined with the written word. And I am equally blessed to have music directors who pushed me to expand my skills and go beyond my boundaries.
In picking “Come Sunday” as a piece today, I was first thinking of the jazz it represents but then I discovered some things about the piece. When Duke Ellington wrote this piece, he was pushing the boundaries of jazz. Ellington always characterized his music as “beyond category”, a point he made about life as well. We are all one people (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/come-sunday).
Too many individuals today say that they are Christian but theirs is a religion defined by exclusion and division. They see Christianity as a convenient label, something one can wear and take off when done but not something that is a part of their life.
If God is a part of your life, you find ways to express that. As I worked on this piece, I came across the thought that everyone worships in their own language and that there is no language God does not understand (http://nepr.net/post/duke-ellingtons-eulogist-fr-gerald-pocock-rip-1925-2017#stream/0).
To paraphrase Paul, some of us are writers and some of us are musicians. But we all have some talent, a talent that we can use to express our own love of God. And no matter what your talent may be, the expression of your love of God will transform the world. ~~Tony Mitchell