A Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this Place

Lara Schopp Staff Messages

By Matthew Thompson, Director of Music

I have always loved going to church! I know it may seem odd to most but for some reason, church, especially worship and music called out to me from a young age. I was around 12 years old when I began playing the organ and accompanying choirs on Sunday. It was magical. It still is. There is something truly beautiful and remarkable about music in general but especially at church. It binds us together. It brings us in close. It nourishes our aching hearts and soothes our souls.

Though I have only had a short time here I just want to take the opportunity to highlight a few musical moments that have recently left me spirit-filled on Sunday. Alex and Sara Goering’s offertory solos at the beginning of January immediately come to mind. I couldn’t help but feel happy inside as I listened to them sing. I enjoyed accompanying the Chancel Choir’s beautiful and inspired singing of “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” and “Here I Am, Lord”. I’ve also been moved by Paul Tucker’s improvisations at the piano. The list goes on and on. Between vocal and instrumental soloists, 9:01 song leaders, 9:01 Trio, Orffestra, Jubilee Ringers, Country Club Singers, and Chancel Choir, we have so many incredible people offering their time and talents to minister through music to our church. A heartfelt thank you to all who take part in this ministry! We are blessed by your service and by your beautiful music!

The lyrics of a notable twentieth-century gospel spiritual came to mind as I thought of what I have witnessed and felt in worship this past month:

“There’s a sweet sweet spirit in this place and I know that it’s the spirit of the Lord … Without a doubt, we know that we have been revived when we shall leave this place.”

Even in small ways each of us can partake of the spirit music brings. We can hum the tune of a favorite hymn or song that brings us peace. We can listen to an inspired musical performance and appreciate how the music moves us. We can stand and sing hymns with full heart and voice (it’s not about having the perfect one either) and feel connected with others as we do. We can sing at home with those we love. It’s the intention that we bring to our musical experiences that in the end makes all the difference.

I am humbled by the call to minister to each of you and excited to join with you in sharing our gifts and talents that the spirit might be felt by all in this place.