Notes from Nola
Music in Uncertain Times
While I write this, MMF’s first self-produced CD, Joining Our Voices, is playing on my computer. I’m the only one in the building as yet (not unusual for before 8:00 a.m.), and the sound of the voices singing joyfully brings comfort.
Yes, the Winston-Salem office staff are working in the office these days; it’s a big building and we’re exercising our social distancing, and being careful not to answer the phone in anyone else’s office or share computers or anything like that. Hand sanitizer is at all the entrances. So we’re each working largely alone, but there’s some comfort in keeping the old routines of getting up, dressing, coming to work …
After reading below, come back and
check out this more recent article about
music ensembles and infection transmission.
(I was just jolted out of my peaceful mood by the obnoxious sound of the fire alarm. Oh yes, I did know that this morning would be the annual test of the fire alarm and sprinkler system. Turn up the volume, Nola.)
This is closer to a sermon than to an informative musical post!
The hymns are a reminder of things that do not change – “The one eternal God, whom heaven and earth adore – for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore” (Moravian Book of Worship, hymn 533, verse 3). Sometimes to listen to a hymn asserting God’s goodness and power is itself an act of faith – it may not feel like this now, but I choose to “keep the faith” – to hang onto the things I have known to be true, to cling to the God whom I have known throughout my life, even as the number of COVID-19 cases keeps rising, hospitals are facing shortages, too many people are suffering and dying …
God never promised that we would not go through hard times. God never told us we’d never suffer, never be sick, never die too young, never lose our job, never face hunger or homelessness. God does promise that we will never face those things alone, for God is with us. In this time of Lent, we remember what Jesus suffered – setting his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that anguish and death would soon come to him. Jesus suffered all the agonies of pain, loneliness, and death. And God the Father suffered the death of his only Son.
Friends – brothers and sisters – God has suffered, known in God’s own self, every pain and grief we bear. That is the source of my stubborn, resilient faith. I can cry to God with all my anguish, knowing that God can truly say, “Nola, I know how you feel.”
I close this not-very-musical meditation with two final words:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?Psalm 42:11
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God”
The final word isn’t a word from me; it’s from Joining Our Voices.
Click the link and listen, and be uplifted.
The peace of Christ enfold you. — Nola (March 22, 2020)