Elizabeth is over at Velvet Ashes today . . .
I grew up in a faith tradition that sang acappella. Worship could arise in any place and any time: our voices were all we needed. We didn’t need advance planning. We didn’t even need songbooks, for the words were written on our hearts.
The songs of my childhood held such depth and resonance. There were four-part harmonies and four-part songs, echoes and counter melodies, descants and rounds. There were the “Greatest Commands” and the “Magnificat.” There was “Lord, Be There” and “Someday.”
There was singing in the stairwell after Sunday night church, where acoustics were the best. There was singing in the dirt at summer camp, amongst the bugs and under a canopy of stars.
No one could sing “On Zion’s Glorious Summit Stood” or “O Lord, Our Lord, How Excellent Thy Name,” like the Kansas camp counselors of my youth. And no one could sing the seven-fold amen of “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” like the Arkansas camp counselors I later worked with.
The singing of my childhood was like none other. These days, however, I worship with an interdenominational fellowship that uses instruments. (And I love it.) But somehow when I’m there, the acappella tradition of my past seems distant indeed.
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