Today's Lectionary Text
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
My great-grandmother sat tall on the round piano stool. Her fingers fluttered over the keys; the brown hymnal open in front of her. A raised window sent the notes of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” into the yard and across the 1920s New York neighborhood.
Twenty years later, my grandmother welcomed her child home for lunch. Sitting at the kitchen table with the little girl who would be my mother, they shared a hot meal and conversation while a voice on the radio sang “An Evening Prayer.”
Halfway across the country in a small Nebraska town, my granddad sat with a little boy in overalls perched on his lap. He crooned to my dad a ballad called “Pretty Red Wing,” that told of a young Indian maid's loss of her sweetheart who has died in battle.
As I was growing up, my mother sang a song for every occasion. She made up songs while preparing supper or steering the car across town. I remember napping to the soundtrack of the Broadway version of “Carousel.” I fell asleep at night listening to her play the score from “Mary Poppins” on the piano.
My dad sang silly ditties around the house.
Music, in whatever form, is a gift from God. It accompanies our sorrows and lifts our spirits. In many ways, music is also a gift from one generation to the next. I recall past generations by the songs they sang, the music they favored.
I reflect the music that has resonated through generations. My faith is founded in the tradition of friendship with Jesus and a trust in forgiveness. My soul is blessed with the capacity to burst into song amidst daily activities and to sprinkle light-hearted ditties throughout my days.
When my children were small, I would bounce them on my knee while singing to the tune of “The William Tell Overture:” “Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up-up-up. Giddy up, Giddy up-up-up. Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up-up-up. Giddy up. Giddy up-up-up.
Last week, as my son cradled his infant daughter, he told me that when his child is fussy, he places her on his knee and sings “Giddy up-up-up.” “And when I do that,” he said, “she never cries.”
What song do you pass on? What melody do you offer to accompany life? The song is an inheritance from our spirits, and whether we realize it or not, our spirits are passed on to those who follow. Make a joyful noise to the Lord and you will find that God’s steadfast love endures forever and God’s faithfulness to all generations.
--Rev. Barbara McLain
Prayer for Reflection
May we hear your message, O God, through the songs of others in whatever form they are proclaimed. Teach us to listen. Teach us to hum. Teach us to bellow out a melody. May our voices, our rhythm, and our tune be expressions of the delight we find in God’s presence that our songs might accompany others into God’s joy and steadfast love. Amen.
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