The blessing to soar and to sing…
This past Sunday the lovely people of Messiah Lutheran Church where I have sung and served since 2013 said “Farewell and Godspeed” to me as I have begun a new chapter at a different church, Ebenezer United Methodist. Both churches have referred to my “ministry”, which I have never considered my singing to be. For me, it’s just doing the thing God gave me to do, offering back to Him the gift that He has lent me to use while I am here. Semantics, I suppose.
People who know me, or who read this blog, know that I collect feathers. On my way into the church, I spied a tiny little white feather on the ground, no bigger than my thumbnail. “Thanks, Lord, ” I thought, tucking it into my bag. It was a beautiful little piece of comfort on a bittersweet day.
Joan, Messiah’s director of music, had mentioned in an email that I collect feathers and that if anyone at church found one, they could bring for my last Sunday as a member of their staff. What a sweet gesture, I thought, and such a nice way to say not “Goodbye”, but “Until we meet again,”. Because Christians, and musicians, never really say goodbye. We remain part of the same family.
I had the chance to sing some of my favorite things, with some of my favorite people, in a place that I’ve grown to love. At the end of the first service my friend Anne came up and handed me a Baggie with a collection of large feathers inside, explaining that she had her son Cameron had collected them on walks over the years. I said, “I hope this isn’t the whole collection!”, to which she replied, “It is, and Cameron wanted you to have them.” When I went into the choir room to drop off my folder before Sunday school I found a feather lying on the floor, and picked it up thinking someone had just dropped it. They had…and that one was just the start. All over the fellowship hall floor, feathers…on top of every table, feathers…little children tugging on my skirt to bring me feathers! It felt like I’d won the lottery!
During Sunday school, Joan presented me with a parting gift, a gorgeous piece of art depicting a treble clef and feathers combined, inside of which she had tucked a small white feather that one of her dogs had tracked into the house after a walk. And then she had me explain the significance of feathers in my life, how God sends them when I need comfort, a reminder that He is watching over me. When I see a feather I pick it up, because, while my brain knows that feathers come from birds, my heart likes to imagine that the feathers drop from the wings of guardian angels God has placed in my path to look after me.
As the choir gathered for the second service, Mary Soprano (because we also have a Mary Alto!) presented me with her own take on a feather gift, a hilarious pink and purple boa, which everyone agreed suits my Diva personality perfectly! I squealed like a child when I opened it, and posed for a photo showing my bounty of gifts and blessings from the day. Pastor Eric prayed for me during both services, and Pastor Pauline blessed me, anointing me with oil after I had received communion. Tears of gratitude welled up as I received love, hugs, affirmation and the blessing to continue singing in another family even as I remain loved by this one.
Over my shoulder the banner reads “Cantate Domino”, Latin for “Sing to the Lord”. I LOVE that Joan framed the shot this way. It’s a reminder for me why I do what I do.
And I love that my feather gifts remind me of both the birds and the Angels, creatures that soar and sing to the Lord.