A congregation of the United Church of Canada
Many reading this may already know that my wife and I joined a community choir in Cobourg back in January. This wonderful group is called ‘The Oriana Singers’, and our first concert as part of the group is happening this weekend, April 1 and 2, at Trinity United Church in Cobourg. We are partnering with the Northumberland Orchestra and Choir and collaboratively featuring the sublime work known as the ‘Faure Requiem’. (Shameful self promotion – click this link for tickets!)
Many reading this may also know that both my wife and I have Music degrees (that’s where we met) so you can surmise that we are strong choir members, in that we read music well and have excellent musical knowledge. I happen to sing in the tenor section – infamous for being perennially understaffed in every choir. So, you can rightly presume that with my experience and confidence I sing boldly, and as it happens, many follow. Usually that’s a wonderful thing, because usually I’m singing correctly. (Can you guess where this is going?) At rehearsal this week, after a change in metre and tempo, I miscounted a bar and barged ahead on my part. And, as you have probably guessed, most of the tenor section barged along with me. About a page later I figured out I was out of time and fixed it, but I confess I spent that whole page doggedly refusing to be over-sung by the guy behind me who was clearly out of time. Except he wasn’t. He was right, and I was wrong. (You sing a thousand notes right, but you fixate on the few you sang wrong!)
Instantly scripture popped into my head: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Well, I’m not sure that a rhythm mistake counts as ‘iniquity’, but the rest is accurate. We tend to follow those who are strong, and confident, and have shown that they are often ‘right’. But it is also incumbent upon ourselves that we take responsibility for our own path, and not be led astray so easily.
We’re approaching Holy Week. We are being led – not by me, but by Jesus. We are invited to follow him, and to stay the course, even when it gets hard. But it’s very easy to go astray, and turn to our own ways, and not enter-in to a difficult journey willingly. I pray that we’ll follow Jesus boldly into this week – not just because he’s singing the loudest, and not because we trust him uncritically, but because we ourselves are confident that his path is the holy way. We should follow, knowing fully, understanding deeply, and despite the challenge, enter anyway. And if we sing a few wrong notes, as we inevitably do, we’ll strive to return to the right path as gracefully as possible. Let us enter Holy Week singing boldly.