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Memories

One of my earliest memories of church was singing the liturgy from the hymnal. There was a

section where the men sang one part and the women sang another. I was so happy to be

singing that I sang out the men's part nice and loud. After my mom pointed out that I wasn't

supposed to sing that part, I was horrified that I had done something wrong and cried the rest of the service. To this day, when there are men's and women's parts in the music, it takes me back to that Sunday morning.

Music does that. It takes us back to places and times and feelings from our past. For me, "church" songs are especially powerful. Good times. Bad Times. Time with family and friends. Growing up, my mom was in an ecumenical choir in Loogootee, Indiana. Years later, that choir reunited and traveled to Illinois to sing at my wedding. That is a special memory for me. Those people from different church backgrounds all coming together to share the important day with us, and to share their gifts - the gift of music. Music and friendship have a strong bond in my life. The songs from bible camp, kids choir, high school and college choirs ... when I hear those songs today, it's like I am sitting around the camp fire, or giving a Christmas concert. Those songs were an important part of my faith formation.

In college, I was in a jazz choir. The jazz songs were fun to sing, but the songs and memories that really stand out for me are the songs from the annual Christmas concert. "Of The Father's Love Begotten" "I Wonder As I Wander" "In The Bleak Midwinter" These songs still give me goose bumps. Remembering the people I sang with and those special times in my life. Other songs can bring me to tears for other reasons. "Morning Cry" since I became a parent, is impossible to get through without crying. And realizing the parental relationship God has with us makes it even tougher. Songs my mom loved, like "On Eagles Wings" or "Here I Am Lord" are especially hard too. They take me back to her funeral in 2006 and trying to sing them for her. As if by our singing them that day, we could show her how much she was loved. And today, listening to my own kids in church. Even though they grumble when it's time to go to church, when I hear them enjoy singing on Sunday mornings ... or when they are humming songs in the shower .... or trying to figure out how to play them on the trombone or piano. That makes my heart smile.

Music has been a large part of my faith journey right from the start. Family, friends, good time and hard times are all tied together with music. It's a gift I got from my family. My kids continued their relationship with music and became very involved with some of the same choirs my husband I were in in college. Listening to them both in the various concerts while at Wartburg has been amazing. One of Allison’s choirs even came to CtK last spring to share their music. My father-in-law passed away last March and his funeral had the most hymns I think possible. More songs that are now tied to special memories.

Becky Tomlinson, Partner of Christ the King

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