Our Spring Concerts held Thursday at 9:00 and 6:45 are a different way that we gather together as a community. From many years at summer camp, I learned that singing together can be an effective method for breaking down the differences that divide us. There is a vulnerability in singing out loud – none of us sounds as good as we’d like. Ship a bunch of kids off to summer camp and their intrinsic self-consciousness rises right to the surface. But get them to cheer or laugh or be silly or to sing together, and they begin to feel less like they have to look cool, less like they have to worry about themselves and how they are perceived by others, more like they are in fact connected to everyone else.
We don’t sing much in our society any more. Oh there’s lots of music about: perfect, professional music on super high fidelity sound systems that have no flaw. I was stunned to learn that many professional singers have their voices digitally tuned – even in live performance – to be exactly on key. They sing and the computer fixes the pitch! The sound is gorgeous, but not only is it not real, it makes real singing feel inferior. I think many of us are cowed by that fake perfection. We’re afraid to raise our voices in song because we sound so, well, human.
But that’s the secret of course: we are all human. My imperfection is just like everyone else’s. That’s the secret truth that teens realize only after considerable angst: everyone wants to fit in, everyone is worried about how they look to others, everyone is nervous – even the cool kids who fake it best.
I am proud of our kids for raising their imperfect but still really beautiful voices in song. And the real miracle is that when a bunch of imperfect voices sing together, the result is something greater than the sum of the parts. I think there is an important metaphor for community here worth thinking about.
Next week we celebrate Pentecost, the occasion of the birth of the church when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in the Upper Room after Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension, when they were feeling most alone. Emboldened by a very palpable presence of God, the disciples went on from that moment of "inspiration" to preach the good news in the face of persecution and threat of death. May we all be moved to such courage in our convictions!
We welcome the Rev. Jay Hutchinson, Chaplain at St. Andrew's School and father of 7th grader Jack as our guest preacher and celebrant. We are also delighted to have our fourth graders lead our service as an instructed Eucharist, passing on to the full community what they have been learning this year about sacraments under the expert guidance of Kathy Hanna. All are welcome - please join us!