I am very pleased to welcome back the Sunday School and the Choir this morning!
I read an article recently that explored the philosophical and scientific mystery of why listening to music gives humans pleasure. The long and the short of it is: it’s a mystery. Music can be open-ended, unexpected, and difficult to interpret. It is capable of speaking to us in multiple ways, including directly to our emotions through non-verbal means. It may be this quality of mystery itself that gives us pleasure. I think the mystery of music is tied up with the mystery of God. Human observation (science) cannot prove the existence of God, and if it could, the God it showed us wouldn’t be worth worshipping. However, within the world of the natural senses there are many pointers to God, things that make us wonder, in both senses of that phrase. Music is one of these pointers. It can be so transcendent, and move us to such a deep level that we cannot help but wonder if music itself speaks of the mystery of the divine life. For many people, music is one of the ways they sense God’s presence. That is why music is so important for the worship of the Church, and that is why I am excited for a new year of exciting and beautiful music led by our intrepid choir under the skilled and learned direction of our organist and choir director, Paul Emmons. St. Augustine was right when he said, “When you sing, you pray twice.”
The Sunday School is one of the ways we welcome children in our midst and ensure they and their parents know that children truly belong at Holy Apostles. More than that, I am pretty sure God likes kids best. Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like a little child, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). God delights in the rambunctious joy of children in our midst. Children are a treasure for God’s Church, not only as its future, but also as its present. Children enhance our life together, and show us what it means to approach God and life with innocence, vitality, and wonder. Or is it innocence, vitality, and wiggles? Probably both, and we are better people for providing a safe and fun environment for our children. Today after service, we celebrate these manifold blessings—Choir and Sunday School, children and music—with ice cream!