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First Thoughts Blog

Author: Steve Rushing, Associate Director of Music, Classic Reformed Service

The Chancel Choir and Psalm 42

Almost every Wednesday night a group of faithful individuals gather around 7 pm in the choir room on the second floor of the Sanctuary building. They range in age from 16 to 80. They come with a singular purpose in mind and that is to pray with words, music, body, heart and soul. 
The evening evolves in fellowship; sharing stories of the week’s events, some humming from a random alto, one of the men hammering out his notes on the piano. It is a symphony of souls. They do not come because they have to or necessarily want to. They come because, since the last time they met, they have grown thirsty. 

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God...By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

Yes, it is a selfish act to show up at choir rehearsal. Individually thirsty for revival of the soul’s pneumatic needs, they gather to conspire also. Not unlike instructions on a plane flight, “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” In the end, their act is selfless as they know that giving is better than receiving.  
What they give to each other during Wednesday night rehearsals is a breathing together with a singular purpose. The sound of unified inhalation is followed by phrase after phrase of God’s unique gifts of scripture, poetry, prose and music. What they share is nothing short of a miracle; the healing power of music is the healing power of God.
By the end of rehearsal all are refreshed and their thirst is quenched. But reminded of their purpose, they recall the previous Sunday.  

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

The rehearsal always ends with a prayer, thanking God for the privilege to be recipients of such unique and fulfilling blessings.
It is the following Sunday morning when they gather again; this time to pour out their souls, leading worship with songs of praise. Spiritually refreshed from the Wednesday night journey of filling their souls with spiritual oxygen, they assist in worship by energizing the throng, giving multitudes the inspiration to praise him who taught us all to pray and sing.