Lenten Thoughts of Unity-----Randle Lee
As I made one of my frequent trips up the Turner Turnpike to Tulsa and to keep my mind off the trucks going too fast or too slow, I started thinking about what I might write about unity. About the time I settled into a group of cars and small SUVs going a similar speed I got a call from my Mom.
Normally I enjoy our conversations on such a drive, as I don’t have to say much as she fills me in on who is in the hospital, how many leaves are in her yard, and how long it has been since we have come to visit. But about the time we had gotten past the hospital part it suddenly hit me. I could write about two things at once.
Back in the day, we would hold what was referred to as “5th Sunday Singings.” These were held each 5th Sunday with a rotation of churches hosting the event. If you have never heard a group of 200-300 folks singing songs a cappella, meaning without instruments, you have missed something special. Many of the leaders of these songs had no formal musical training, so we focused on old standards.
At about this time during my Mom’s phone call I feared I had tuned her out and missed someone new experiencing some new ailment. Out of desperation I chimed in, “Wow, I hope they get better.” She seemed pleased.
During these “5th Sunday Singings” invariably the song, “When We All Get To Heaven” would be led. This was a song that basically needed no leader as everyone knew each part by heart and knew the tempo it needed to be sung. It didn’t matter whether the leader wanted to go faster or slower. You sang it the speed everyone was accustomed to singing.
Over the past few years I have had the honor and privilege to sing with Vox Solis. We have so much fun on Monday nights coming together, hashing out parts, with a pretty good dose of laughter thrown in for good measure. I feel confident in saying I might not have gotten to know everyone as well if it weren’t for this group. I am so glad they let me join in the fun.
Again, fearing I had missed the part of my Mom’s call where she was expressing the frustration about the quantity of leaves blowing into her yard from the neighbor, I interjected, “That’s just rude” and that seemed to allow the conversation to move forward.
What’s this got to do with unity? We are a sum of our parts. “When We All Get To Heaven” sung in a cappella would just sound AWFUL if each person decided to sing a bunch of notes not associated with the part they were singing, or in fact, the song itself. While we all have varying degrees of backgrounds, musical history and knowledge, this song can cause you to harken back to loved ones gone on who loved the song and those days of maybe visiting their church on family visits. I bet you see where this is headed.
Garry Dowell and I sing bass in Vox Solis and he sure knows a LOT more about singing bass than I do. However, I like to think if we practice hard enough and learn to work together our individual voices can blend to sound like one. The old “5th Sunday Singings” didn’t rival the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a cappella, which can take your breath away; but a group of brothers and sisters from disparate backgrounds can sound so sweet in an old church building with good acoustics.
By this time in thought I was approaching the end of my travels on the Turnpike and knew we were headed to a part of the conversation where I needed to really pay attention. I do so love listening to my Mom’s voice and know that someday I won’t even get to interject nary a comment into her litany of updates.
My thoughts on unity concluded with wonder. Are we working together toward a wonderful “5th Sunday Singings” or a great Vox Solis tune, or are we trying to continually think it is a strength of the church to be singing in a different key?
God, Tune our hear toward your dive harmony. Amen
Posted on Sun, March 26, 2017
by Micah James