Rehearsing Our Faith

Have you ever wondered how keyboard musicians perform a multitude of complex tasks that involve a high level of mental acumen and physical ability? I wonder this every time I watch Mary Ellen, or any organist, play. Organ music has three lines of music; two lines for the hands and one line for the feet. Each line, or staff, of organ music typically has several notes that should be played simultaneously. So organist must accurately see, comprehend, and physically produce three lines of information with each of those lines having numerous information points. In addition, they have to artistically activate the great varied stops, or instrument sounds (they look like tabs or cabinet handles or silver knobs), in a timely fashion. They do this so the melody in the right hand sounds as a flute while the accompaniment in the left hand sounds as strings while the bass part in the feet sounds as a bassoon. That is probably why my sister, who is a church organist, hates it when people come up to chat with her during the postlude!

Organists can perform this incredibly complex task because they have spent hours, days, and years practicing. One of the reasons all musicians practice is to help our brains sort out which things we can eventually ignore. In performance, musicians depend upon muscle memory, good habits, musical knowledge, etc., to handle some parts of a complex performance so that they can give appropriate attention to other parts. That’s how musicians perform complex music accurately, even artistically, under the stress of live performance situations.

Faith formation is a lot like that. In worship, we learn and review Scripture, songs, and stories, thereby expanding and solidifying our faith. In essence, over years of public and private worship, we ‘practice our faith;’ it becomes muscle memory ingrained in our very being. Then, in moments of distress, we can depend on those things we know ‘by heart’ to carry us through.
Hope to see you in worship practicing your faith!