As we have been working through the visioning process together, we’ve been hearing about our desire for deeper community and connection. I think First Congregational Church’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, that we shared at our Gathering In Sunday on September 18, is a compelling example of how members of our congregation collaborate, and that you’ll enjoy hearing about how it all came about.
It started with a congregation member coming up to me after worship to suggest that we include a song like Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a service sometime. I remarked that it might be difficult to find a Sunday where the lyrics would be appropriate and said I’d think about it (as an aside that proves me wrong, the story of David and Bathsheba is coming up this month now that we are following the Narrative Lectionary!). The person who approached me did indeed plant a seed.
Next, I mentioned it to Pastor Davi, who asked if I knew about the First Congregational Church Poetry Group and suggested I see if they would be interested in writing new lyrics. I ran the idea past the group and they embraced it with great enthusiasm! They worked as a team, writing and editing together over a number of weeks, and they presented five beautiful verses specific to our First Congregational community.
It felt like a perfect fit for our Gathering In service, so next I went about finding musicians that were available that Sunday. There were four singers, guitar, and piano, and we rehearsed at 9:00 am that Sunday morning with the Poetry Group as an audience for feedback. Then, finally, we shared the song during worship, with the soloists singing the verses and everyone singing along during the familiar chorus. It was wonderful.
There is such beauty in the various ways we collaborate to make meaningful music. Pastor Sharon recently spoke of how music is one of the ways we pray together, both in participating and in listening, and I look forward to all the fulfilling ways we will continue sharing music as a community.