Awake, Awake, Utter a Song! ~Judges 5:12
On Easter Sunday the choirs processed with our stunning new banner, hand-crafted (needle-point!) by Vienna Cobb Anderson. Inspired by a Picasso painting, the banner is an appropriate depiction of music at St. James’s. Bright, ebullient, eclectic, always moving, morphing, yet grounded, joyful, free, colorful, enriching, praising, thankful, powerful, life-giving, life-sustaining.
The source of all of the above is God. A God not only of color and texture, but the God of song – the Creator of stones that cry, stars that bend their voices together, mountains and hills that break forth into singing, and trees that not only sing but clap their hands. The Psalmist says, “Sing for the Lord a new song and sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet (Psalm 33:3). How is it possible to do otherwise? Our choristers can testify that this is a task they are eager and ready to do.
Maybe this is something you feel compelled to do, as well. As you head to the beach or mountains for your summer respite, entertain the possibility of joining a choir in the fall. The beautiful banner above not only depicts the depth and breadth of music in worship, but captures the delightfully complex make-up of the choirs at St. James’s. The choir chairs are filled with singers of varying degrees of musicianship, from a PhD in music to the woman from a musical family who was told by her big brother that “she could not sing,” and everything in between. Some read music, others learn by ear, some have amazing voices and others are starting on ground level, learning how to produce beautiful sounds. They are stockbrokers, teachers, lawyers, homemakers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, architects, priests, children of priests, librarians, engineers, lobbyists and more. And as it should be in any good Episcopal church, there are choristers who like to worship with their hands raised rubbing elbows with those who are not sure they can recite the Nicene Creed.
This exuberant, bold, uncontained banner is a testimony to the God we love, a God “who rejoices over us with gladness and exults over us with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17). The great 12th century Gregorian chant Vexilla Regis prodeunt is translated “The flaming banner of our King,” and we are glad to follow this new flaming banner into worship, to praise with loud voices. We thank Vienna for this and all the gifts that she has shared as priest, chorister, friend and generous supporter of music at St. James’s.
~Mark and Virginia Whitmire