Everything that Breathes
Let everything that breathes praise God! – Psalm 150:6a (NRSV)
I’ve missed the Doxology this year. The opening chords that tell me it’s time to stand. The words of praise I’ve been singing since I could sing.
Despite the challenges of singing together online, every few months I ask the congregation to try it anyway. I pick a key, folks unmute ourselves, and Zoom gets very confused about who it should focus on. It sounds…terrible.
But each time, someone says how much they needed it.
Music has saved me this year.
The living room dance parties. The surprise album drops. The road trip playlist from a friend that introduced me to “Church” by Samm Henshaw. (Why are you reading this instead of listening to that song?!?
Late last summer, our music director programmed a concert series on the church lawn. The first Friday, fifty or so of us gathered inside chalk circles for a French horn quartet. The only live music we’d heard in six months. Four bars into the opening number, I looked around to see if everyone else was crying as hard as I was. They were.
Sometimes it’s suggested that we sing praise for God. Like it does something for God to hear our voices. I can’t imagine what.
But it does something for me. Gathering to record the weekly worship songs. Already exhausted, though it’s only Wednesday afternoon. Singing for two hours together until we decide the videos are as good as we can make them.
And every week I walk home thinking, “God, I needed that.”
For the gift of breath, for the song it carries, for the weight that floats off with it, I praise you.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.