Sunday, May 06, 2007

So proud!

(Gush alert!)

My babies (choir children) did SO WELL today! I've never been so proud of them. Everyone loved the concert and most stayed to enjoy banana splits or ice cream sundaes with us afterward.

And the school-age children were thrilled with their end-of-year gifts: hymnals of their own, imprinted with their names. Harder to tell with the pre-schoolers, who received beautiful enamel choir pins (blue with red singing birds), nearly an inch in diameter, which they can wear each time their choir sings in the coming year. The children also presented me with a small white bear, proudly "bearing" the United Methodist cross and flame, with a collection of small business-card sized photos of each child and adult worker, double-sided (reverse sides were various photos of things like our Christmas program, Sunday morning singing, our sanctuary windows, etc.) A keepsake of our year together--something I'll treasure the rest of my life.

Fun, fun, fun!

I SOOOO love my job!

I'm going to miss these young ones this summer. Oh, I'll see them in church and they'll give me leg hugs (the youngest ones) when we meet. And some of the older ones will tell me where they're going on their vacations or their latest swimming achievements or Six Flags visits and so forth. But working with them each week, and especially praying with them (my favorite part of each rehearsal--ever heard a three-year-old praying for a sick sister or a pet who died? No guile, just trust...) yes, that's what I'll miss the most. I need the break, but my heart's already looking forward to the fall.

I don't know how I avoided crying as the older children sang "Feed My Lambs" (Sleeth) this afternoon. (It was one of their choices of favorite pieces from this year.) Somehow it took until today for it to sink in that God was reminding me of my own calling through this text:

"Feed my lambs, tend my sheep,
Over all a vigil keep;
In my name, lead them forth
Gently as a shepherd."

Thank you, Good Shepherd, for the gift of these your children in our church family. Keep me faithful to you as I help to shepherd them in your way. Let my love for them show them, in some small way, the boundless love you have for them.


Quotidian Grace said...

Lovely post. I remember the Natalie Sleeth piece so well--years ago I taught that to my own girls and their friends when I was children's choir assistant. It's a beautiful song.

St. Inuksuk said...

What a grace to have such a marvelous celebration! Good to hear from you again.
i like your Psalmistland ending! Clever!
May blessing flow your way.

Paisley! said...

BRAVO! God be praised!

(Psalmist...check out the Creed site for a rousing discussion again today 5/8/07).

Paisley a.k.a. my 2 cents

Singing Owl said...

I'm so glad it was a blessing! And I tagged you for a meme. See my place. His Singer made me do it.

April said...

Psalmy -- I tried to comment on this last week, but blogger wouldn't let me.
It sounds as though it was a wonderful day. My choir of musically-illiterate adults sang Feed My Lambs that Sunday also! We sing lots of children's choir music because it is largely unison. It IS a lovely piece.

Have you heard John Leavitt's "In the Shadow of your Wings"? It's beautiful -- also for children/ youth, though another that translates well to older groups.

Anyway, I'm glad there was overflowing grace on Sunday. Blessings to you, Psalmy, dear!!

Psalmist said...

Sorry I missed your question, April. No, I'm not familiar with that piece and will be sure to look into it for this coming choir year.

Say, you might be interested to know that we had a consultant visit our worship services a few months ago, on a morning when the chancel choir was singing a simple SAB arrangement (I forget just what at the moment). He is used to much bigger churches than ours, with much bigger choirs. For us, a Sunday with 20 singers is a big Sunday! Anyway, the consultant commended me personally for selecting music that was reasonably within the choir's reach. He says it conveys something negative to first-time guests (he says don't call them visitors) when a choir is too ambitious and doesn't have the numbers or expertise to sing a work well. I would have to agree with him on that. There is no shame in singing even the simplest music with excellence, and no honor in singing something poorly just because it's "good music."

I'm growing to like Benjamin Harlin's stuff more and more. He writes very sympathetically for smaller choirs. May his tribe increase!