Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rejoice, the Lord is King!

by Marsha Ward

Our little branch of the Church is growing more like a ward every Sunday. We now have Programs! Maybe your ward calls them Bulletins, but we still say Programs, and love that we now have someone--Kathy--who is called to produce them for Sunday meetings.

(It looks like my blog post today is a bit organic, because I didn't intend to type about programs, but that is what came out. Maybe if I meander around a bit, I'll finally get to my intended topic.)

Of course, with a program, Kathy needs content, and not just any content, but hymns and speakers and announcements. She is doing a good job collecting the material, but some of us are letting her down by not giving her the proper content in time for her to prepare the program for Sunday.

We have a new chorister for Sacrament Meetings. She is a lovely teen, and being musically inclined, is perfect for the job. She and I have decided to switch off months in choosing the hymns for the meeting. It's always nice to know what the topic or theme of the meetings will be so the hymns will correlate. This is my month, and the theme for the entire month, leading up to Easter, is the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I chose some lovely hymns, some of which I hesitated over because they were not the ones we've been singing over and over, week after week. I squared my shoulders and put them on the list, reasoning that surely by the last verse, members of the congregation would become familiar with the hymn, if they didn't already know it.

Imagine my surprise and joy when today's hymns were sung with gusto and reverence and certitude, all in the right places. We began with my biggest worry: Hymn 65, "Come, All Ye Saints Who Dwell on Earth." I need not have worried. They knew it!

We haven't sung the Sacrament hymn I chose for a while, but they knew that one, too: Hymn 182, "We'll Sing All Hail." Between the speakers, I wanted something a bit lively, so our "Break Hymn" (surely that's not the official term. Does anyone know what it is?) was Hymn 66, "Rejoice, the Lord is King!" They sang. They rejoiced!

The Closing Hymn had concerned me a bit, but the congregation knew it: the prayerful Hymn 66, "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me."

I should have known not to fret. I should simply have rejoiced in the opportunity to present hymns of the Atonement and the Resurrection and known that all would be well. The month is not over, but I am inclined to "Rejoice, the Lord is King!" To adore Him, to give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore.

7 comments:

  1. In our ward they call it a rest hymn, although I'm not sure if the name is entirely appropriate. Usually by the time they get to the "rest hymn", I'm plenty rested and I need something to wake me up. I think they should call it the "get up and stretch before your legs fall asleep hymn."

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  2. Ha ha! I like that name for the hymn, Stephanie. Thanks for visiting.

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  3. I like this post, Marsha. I like how you really care about the music and I think that feeling is contagious in a ward or branch. Our organist is enthusiastic - adding all kinds of addendums to the ending of hymns and extra chords - so that we all listen more and better. Our singing, however -- well, we're working on it. Thanks for sharing your spirit with us!

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  4. I have never figured out if southerners (I'm one) sing slow, our pianist plays slow or what. But when I first came to Utah I was blown away by the way they sang the hymns with such gusto. Bravo for you. My small branch is still singing the same ole hymns the same ole way.

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  5. I've been ward chorister, primary chorister, and relief society chorister several times in the past. I too feel that it is very important to carefully choose which hyms will be sung, what tempo to take the hymn, and which verses to use/eliminate for that particular meeting. Music is the heart of any meeting and makes or can break the spirit. I love music. When I'm down or lonely I sing hymns. When I'm happy I sing primary songs. And listening to mo-tab is a great way to add zest to any day.

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  6. Thanks for your comments, ladies. You've made me feel so good.

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  7. Brava, Marsha! The choice of hymns sets the tone for the meeting and is so important! Our ward knows nearly all of the hymns...we had a music chairman that made sure we rotated through the hymn book regularly. She dated each hymn in her book so she knew when and if we used it. I love praising the Lord through singing!
    We say rest hymn or intermediate hymn...depending on who's conducting. lol..

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