Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I Pray With My Fingers
What key should I play the songs in? Are the congregation warmed up enough to sing in a higher key, or is it so early in the morning that I should lower the key so people can sing the song easier? But if I lower the key how will I make a smooth musical transition to the next song?
Should I repeat the chorus of this song again? Will the people operating the computer follow me if I do? Will the other musicians know what I'm planning? Should I shorten the song? Is the congregation engaged with what I'm leading?
Am I playing loud enough that the congregation feels supported in their singing? Am I playing soft enough so that the congregation doesn't feel drowned out?
Should I pray to link the songs together? Should I say something meaningful? Do I talk to much? Do I talk too little?
Will the person who is next in the service remember to come up to the lectern? Should I play something to underscore this transition?
With this cacophony of thought going on inside the head I still try to connect with God whilst I am leading...
...and so I pray.
I pray with words, I pray with silence, and I pray with my fingers. I let my fingers communicate what I need to express to God. I pray with Harmony, with Dissonance, with Rhythm, with Melody, with Dynamics. As my fingers move across the keys they are able to express in sound what I may not be able to put into words. Cascading patterns of notes become melodic hallelujahs. Harmonic suspensions and chordal clashes become honest moments of confession. As fragments expand and contract in harmonic variations I am finding new ways to say 'I love you'. My light and my darkness offered in worship in a private musical language that only God fully comprehends.
I pray with sound, with silence, with words, with music.
I am a church musician, and I pray with my fingers.