Yes, as Christmas approaches, let’s take a moment to stop and thank all of you church musicians for all the wonderful blessings you add to our celebration of Christ’s birth. Without the music of the faith which you bring us, we surely confess that the season would be something far less meaningful than it is. And certainly you bless us all year long in every season and occasion with your precious gifts of sacred music.
Thank you, organists. You are amazing. It’s hard to comprehend how many hours you have spent in your lifetime practicing, practicing, and practicing. My mother was a church organist for over 50 years. As a young girl she was known to stay long stretches of time on both the piano and organ benches until perfection, or something close to it, was achieved. And remember, organists play their instrument with both hands and feet, all four working together in splendid coordination for the outflow of melody and harmony that brings our convictions of faith even deeper into our hearts and lives. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Thank you, choir directors for adults and children. You combine your skills and education with repetitive hours of picking the right anthems and directing church choir practice in order to bring the softest syllables and the most inspiring walls of sound to us. All of this helps us perceive the magnificent nature of God and the glory of His Grace in Christ Jesus. And let’s be sure to add here your people skills which make it possible for you to take the full range of talent represented in a volunteer choir and somehow minimize the weaknesses and maximize the strengths of all those who sing to the Lord with gladness. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Thank you, choir members, adults and children. Your faithfulness is astounding. The weeknight of choir rehearsal, the Sunday morning run-throughs, the worship service Sunday after Sunday, over and over and over again. And I know you don’t only sing for your anthem, but you also lend your full voice and heart to every note of every part of the liturgy and hymns. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Thank you, praise band leaders. You too not only have the magnificent ability to play, sing, and teach music, but you manage to keep the praise band together, which in the world of music and musician personalities is quite a feat in itself, is it not? And in the genre of contemporary Christian music there are so many different styles and types, you must discern which songs your band can play and your congregation can sing so that the music will bless your congregation and speak to their hearts. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Thank you, praise band singers. Some of you have microphones, some of you do not. Some of you have solos, some of you do not. Some of you have a magnificent ear for harmonies and the beautiful blending of notes. Some of you simply have a heart for The Lord and a spirit inside you that must be expressed in worship and praise. You also bear the reality of what is asked of you week after week, Sunday after Sunday. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Thank you, instrumentalists. You also bring such a gift and skill into the worship of the Lord, which has been honed to near perfection with so many hours of lessons and rehearsal and practice, practice, practice. From trumpets to handbells, from violins to timpani, and every instrument in between, you play for the glory of God and to make music in His Name. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Martin Luther wrote, “I truly desire that all Christians would love and regard as worthy the lovely gift of music, which is a precious, worthy, and costly treasure given to mankind by God…We marvel when we hear music in which one voice sings a simple melody, while three, four, or five other voices play and trip lustily around the voice that sings its simple melody and adorn this simple melody wonderfully with artistic musical effects, thus reminding us of a heavenly dance.”
Luther’s most famous quote on music is this, “Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through Music.”
And so we say Thank You to all church musicians. Bless you. Please keep it up. We hold you in high esteem.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
—––[Kollmeyer is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville. Christmas Eve Services – 4 p.m., Living Nativity also 7, 9, and 11 p.m. Candlelight Communion Services. All welcome. Please come and bring family.]