Cathedral


The choir loft at Wheaton Church consists of three rows of wooden benches along the far back wall of the sanctuary.  From my position in the second row I had a clear view of the gorgeous and expansive room, the understated blue and white furnishings well-lit by the spotlights on the ceiling and the massive skylight in the center of the room.  The pews out on the floor were mostly filled with churchgoers who had arrived for the evening Palm Sunday service, and they looked up at all of us in the Men’s Choir expectantly as our conductor, Doc, turned to face us and raised his arms.  From behind me and a little to the left, the pitch pipe buzzed out an E, the note hanging in the air for a moment while Doc held our gaze to affirm that we’d heard it clearly.  He tilted his head just a little, then lifted his arms and brought them down, leading us into the tune with a confidence that flowed from years of practice.

Of the Father’s love begotten
‘Ere the worlds began to be
He is Alpha and Omega
He the source, the ending He
Of the things that are, that have been
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore 

As we sang together, I felt my voice disappear seamlessly into the others almost before it had slipped from my mouth, and I smiled.  The blend of notes rose up to the peaks of the vaulted skylight, where it vanished into the gently setting sun to make room for the next strains.

Oh ye heights of heaven adore Him
Angel hosts His praises sing
Powers, dominions bow before Him
And extol our God and King
Let no tongue on earth be silent
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore

We’d sung this piece so many times before that the words could have come from my mind into the air unheeded if I’d let them, but I reminded myself to savor them as they rolled out.  As I sang of God’s glory and praise with the men around me, and as I listened to the song echo in the acoustically majestic cathedral where we stood, I felt that this performance was different than the other concerts we’d done before.

Christ to thee, with God the Father
And, oh Holy Ghost, to thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unwearied praises be
Honor, glory, and dominion
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore 

As the final notes drifted away and silence filled the sanctuary, I knew what it was that made this night so special.  The people remained silent, not applauding or acknowledging us at all, and we  sat down.  They weren’t there to hear us, and we weren’t there to perform for them.  We were all there for one purpose: to worship.  As we sat all together and allowed the beauty of the truths that we’d just heard sink into our minds in the sacred silence, I smiled to myself.  Mission accomplished.

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2 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

2 responses to “Cathedral

  1. Tim, this is beautiful.

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