O Magnify the Lord with Me

I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:1-3

As a church musician I know it’s hard to find time to practice a song for a special or offertory. And when you make it a group number, the more people involved, the harder it is to get together for practice.

For that reason, a lot of us prefer to perform solo. It’s easier to prepare, true—but it’s also tempting to get up and “wing it.” Your turn has come, and you’re not ready, so you open the hymnal and sing something, or you pull out a song you’ve done fifteen times already, and you do it again simply because you know it and feel comfortable with it.

But I ask, is that worship? Yes, there are plenty of songs worthy of repeating, but may I challenge you to repeat them because of the message they bear, and not because you were too lazy to learn something new.

May I also challenge you to put together more duets, trios, quartets, and ensembles—both vocal and instrumental. When looking for your next piano offertory, pick a duet, and then pick a partner. Not only does the preparation time unite you with your fellow musicians, forming a special bond of friendship, but it also pleases the Lord when we put forth the effort to strive for excellence in our worship. And it blesses the hearers too.

Just as there’s a time for repeating familiar songs, there’s also a time for solo performances. But group performances should be the rule rather than the exception. I believe this is scriptural. After all, in the Old Testament in particular, where worship music is spoken of quite frequently, it is almost always in the context of choirs and instrumental ensembles.

Are you working on a special for August? Talk with your fellow musicians, and ask them to join you, saying, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”


Photo by Mic Narra on Unsplash

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vanishing Point

This week’s challenge is Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Vanishing Point hosted by Cee Neuner from Cee N Photography.

Kohler & Campbell (9bw)

This was an old piano before it came home. My son and I were just deciding how to extricate it from its place in the back of a garage. While he summed up the situation, I lifted the fallboard a bit to examine the keys.

Ivory Ornaments bw

A bunch of keys have been cleaned, cut, sanded, and are now ready to be painted, lettered, and made into Christmas ornaments.

Key Tiles bw

Many small letter tiles have been cut from piano key extensions, sanded, painted, sanded again for a distressed look, and hand lettered. They will be added to a large Keyed Up, a set of piano keys used to store none other than keys!

 

Action bw

This last photo is an action waiting to be removed, disassembled, cleaned, and put to use.


Thanks again to Cee Neuner for her amazing directory, “For the Love of Challenges.” For the record, Cee’s directory lists not only photo challenges, but also writing and music challenges as well, and they are grouped by category. It’s very well organized.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Worship

This week’s challenge is “Worship” hosted by Frank from Dutch Goes the Photo. My photos for this week’s challenge would not win any contests or strike awe in the viewer, but they do capture true worship in action, not the shadow of a place where worship once took place, however romantic that haunting scene may now appear.

You know, the funny thing is, I’ve been involved in church music for most of my life, but I’ve been hard pressed to find a photo of someone seated at the piano during an actual worship service. I have a growing collection of photos of church buildings, but almost no representatives of the worship that takes place on the inside, and particularly at the piano bench. I suppose that’s because it’s hard to take pictures while worshiping, and especially while playing. 🙂 But here’s one that someone else took and gave to me, taken from close to the back of the sanctuary. It’s rather small, I know, but this tiny frame holds some huge memories for yours truly.

music ministry

Nearly 1,000 miles separate me from that congregation now, but as I look at the photo, I can hear the music coming from the baby grand piano, blending nicely with the crisp tones of Jimmy’s trumpet. As the song of praise draws to its dramatic conclusion, a chorus of amens echoes throughout the pews, then the pastor rises to the pulpit to continue the service with a message from God’s Word.

Below is another example of piano worship. This one was taken just last summer, when my daughter and I went to Mexico to visit some dear, sweet missionary friends, Tom and Jean Zartman, in Monterrey. Mary and I sang a duet, and she played a piano solo in the Sunday morning service, which meets in the lower floor of a dance studio. As you see, it’s not the building that matters, but the people. This church—this congregation—meets three times throughout the week, in three different places. But they are the same church. This serves to remind me that the church is not a building, but a body of believers who join together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ and sing His praises.

Where will you worship this coming Sunday?

Young lady playing solo on keyboard

 

Thanks again to Cee Neuner for her amazing directory, “For the Love of Challenges.” For the record, Cee’s directory lists not only photo challenges, but also writing and music challenges as well, and they are grouped by category. It’s very well organized.