There were over a hundred of us on the stage at the end of Sunday’s worship assembly. Young and old. Men and women. Great singers and mediocre singers. The confident and the panicked. Friends and family and complete strangers. It was quite a collection of saints.
And we sang the Hallelujah Chorus.
Charlotte Greeson led us. And we followed as best we could. We only had two 45-minute rehearsals. The practice times were short and hurried and intense. Charlotte was tough, but full of grace. She was strict, but so loving. She was hardest on the tenors. And we deserved it. Good night, we deserved it. After Wednesday’s practice, one of the tenors suggested that Charlotte could rip you apart and make you like it. I was reminded of what Tom Landry famously said to his mid-60s Cowboys: I make you do what you don’t want to do so you will become what you want to become.
Paul Dennis read the prophesy from Isaiah 9. “To us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Steven Johnson followed up with the Christ hymn from Philippians 2. “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!” And I wondered if we tenors would all hit that opening F-sharp. At the same time.
I still don’t know if we did or not. But, man, whatever happened during those four minutes was really incredible.
There were smiles and hugs and tears and laughter. A wide range of emotions felt and experienced. God was given glory and honor. And his people were encouraged. One lady near the back of our worship center commented afterward that the whole church was inspired by this use of our God-given talents. A much younger boy reportedly told his mom, “That was pretty good for old people.” One lady who took the backstage ramps with her walker to join us for the song wiped back tears as she exclaimed that, at her age and in her health, she wasn’t sure she would ever have had another chance to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in that way with a large choir and an audience. She was blessed. I was blessed. We were all blessed.
Music is a powerful thing. It moves us. It lifts us. It sustains us. And sometimes it transcends us.
Thank you Charlotte Greeson and Mary Hollingsworth for a Sunday worship assembly we’ll never forget. Thank you to the leadership of the Legacy church that allows and even encourages us to find new ways to express our faith and praise. And thank you to all who sang and all who encouraged.