You know that feeling you get when someone starts singing and it almost takes your breath away? Your heart pumps a little faster and your senses feel heightened as the hairs on your arms stand tall. You can almost grasp that land just beyond reach before it fades. In that song, the spiritual and the temporal become blurry. Some people call this a this a thin place and the human voice has an uncanny ability to bring us to this blurry place.
This experience is one of the reasons that we humans sing. We are made for it, we resonate just like a piano resonates, or a guitar resonates. Our bodies are musical instruments that sympathetically resonate with sounds around us. That sympathetic resonating is literally our bodies vibrating, but sometimes our souls are vibrating too. It’s amazing—if you really think about it—that the human body becomes itself the thin place where physical and spiritual blur.
One thing I find disheartening in our modern life is how little singing we do. It used to be, I am told, that people would come home from church on a Sunday afternoon and keep singing. Now, that seems taboo. I encounter people all the time who say to me, “I can’t sing.” When I hear this from people feel sad because it means somewhere along the way someone told them they had a bad voice, and in doing so stole from them a fundamental aspect of their humanity, their voice. I disagree, you can sing. You may not be a skilled singer, but you can sing and you should.
Choir season is right around the corner and our choir is a group made up of people of a variety of skill levels. Some of us read music, some learn by ear. Some are trained to sing solos while others are more comfortable in a group. But week after week we come together with our instruments and resonate. We practice, we work hard, we pray, and sometimes we find that thin place where our souls begin to resonate with our bodies. The choir knows their role, they are there to help you resonate when you come to church, to find that place where your soul is open to resonating with the spirit, that is why we do what we do, but it’s also a lot of fun and has benefits to the individuals that participate.
I hope you know that you singers, regardless of your skill level, are invited to participate. Some of you may want to join the choir, others cannot due time, comfort, or ability. But, I hope you sing out, if you are in the choir or the congregation. I hope that you can let go of that pitch-perfect perfectionism for a moment and find yourself in the beautiful, blurry spot of resonating with your brothers and sisters.
The Bethany Choir begins a half-day kickoff retreat on Saturday, Sept. 30th and rehearsals begin the first Thursday of October. If you are interested in joining the Bethany Choir, contact Kyle Turver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, look on the Bethany website for a full schedule of choir dates.