It's been a good day. Other than a touch of digestive upset, which I'm hoping isn't the onset of a bug that's been going around, it was mostly delightful.
First of all, being at church, with loving, mature Christian people, is always a good thing. Sundays tend to be the best day of the week for me, the long hours and hard work notwithstanding.
Early service went well, the singers and players "syncing" better than usual, though the medley was more of a popular than a theologically super-solid offering. (I don't pretend we do great music, particularly at this service. The medley was "More Love, More Power" with "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.")
One troublesome thing was that my adult assistant for the youth handbell ensemble never showed. She also missed last week's rehearsal with no notice, and hasn't returned messages left for her. I am concerned.
But with some last-minute fill-ins, we managed to pull it together pretty well. The kids rang as well as they possibly could have, and it's only their second time ever to ring in public. I was very proud of them, and grateful to the substitutes.
So once the ringers had rehearsed and I'd warmed up the choir, so began the second service. The hymns were pretty good and the congregation sang them enthusiastically. The choir had, I thought, got the anthem's two troublesome rests ironed out in warm-up, when several people sang through them due to not watching. Blast if we didn't have an unintentional "soloist" and "small group" do the same thing during the actual presentation of the anthem, though! Still, the singing was remarkably good (other than the unobserved rests). It didn't hurt that it was a very good anthem, Lloyd Larson's "My Savior's Love." Overall, I was very pleased.
The sermon was even better than our pastor's usual excellent. It was easily the best sermon I've ever heard on John 4:5-42 (the Samaritan woman at the well), and I've heard quite a few (and preached that text once myself).
I had a meeting immediately after worship, with youth and their families. Was able to "plug" the youth handbell ensemble and I think I may get to welcome another player or two in the near future.
My voice student then had her final lesson prior to her college program/scholarship audition. She will be transferring in and I'm very proud of her. She's a very young singer and isn't totally a "natural," which means she's had to work hard to accomplish all that she has. Together we chose a fairly ambitious pair of audition pieces for her and she stepped up to the challenge. I wish I didn't have to wait until Saturday to hear how it goes!
Then followed our brief evening service and meal, then time for pre-school choir. Only two of our potential six little ones showed up, but those two were delightful and sang their precious hearts out. I can hardly wait until next Sunday,when they'll sing for the first time this calendar year. Then off to activities they went, and my school-age bunch arrived. I pinch myself every time I hear this group. When they're all there, there are ten of them. Tonight I had eight. Every one of them matches pitch extremely well. They could rival any premier children's choir I've ever heard for purity of tone and pitch accuracy. They will be singing in two weeks. They're preparing "Wade in the Water," and it sends chills up my spine how good they sound.
And it didn't hurt that, as we gathered for our prayer circle at the end of rehearsal, the adult leaders prompted them to sing "Happy Birthday" to me before we began sharing prayer requests. I don't know how I managed not to cry; maybe it was the their much-loved addition of "And many more on Channel 4 . . . (I always forget what follows for Channel 2 and Channel 9)" at the end. And as usual, prayer time with both choirs proved the best moments of the evening. Their tender little hearts trust God SO much, and they love to pray for others.
It was a good day to start my 50th year on, I think. God IS good!