"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due that name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness." - Psalm 29
I have to say, I love pomp and circumstance. And no, I'm not talking the ubiquitous graduation march of the same name. I'm talking about the grandeur of a fully robed choir processional: section leaders keeping a watchful eye over the pacing, black albs covered with white cottas that would make my congregation's Puritan forebears wonder where they went wrong, organ going full tilt, congregation singing with full voice, descants rising so high you hope the stained glass maker knew their trade. Fully robed choirs just seem to shout out the glory of God.
While I still feel that way, since becoming a minister I've learned something that those of you who sit in the pews might not have known.
The choir is wearing some fascinating shoes.
Pumps and loafers and sneakers, suede and leather and canvas, black and red and leopard print, sensible to snazzy, clearly comfortable to something so stilettoed it seems built to bring on bunions, a dizzying array of footwear peeks out from below the hems of long black choir robes.
It makes me smile every time I see it because, as much as we try to inject solemnity into our worship, the joy and spontaneity of the Living God comes bubbling up as well. As much as I believe we ought to carefully plan and skillfully execute our worship leadership, I know that just when we are at our most polished, the smiling joy of God will come like a gift, peeking through our preparation like a pair of purple paisley rainboots smack in the middle of the altos.
God, help us take worship seriously . . . .But not too seriously.
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.