Monday, January 16, 2006

Prayer and Music

On the first day of classes I walked in and sat next to two people I know from church. The teacher starts class by saying a word of prayer. I thought, "OK, I know I'm at seminary. Every teacher here is an ordained minister." And then class began.

He started talking about how people think and what brings words alive. He put these words on the overhead...

Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly singing o'er the plains,
and the mountains in reply,
echoing their joyous strains:

Gloria in excelsis deo.
Gloria in excelsis deo.
He told us to read them and we did. Then he said, "Wouldn't it sound better this way?" and proceeded in leading us in song. 4+ part harmony! Pseudo-spontaneous singing in a non-music class. That's great!

It's been so long since I've been a part of something like this. I don't know how to react. Should I be stunned? Should I just sit back and listen?

Throughout the two weeks we sang a lot. Probably 2-3 times per day. A lot of that time I spent listening. I wasn't critiquing (amazing for me). I was enjoying the lack of self-consciousness, the joy, the blase attention to proper technique. All those things contribute to wonderful, spirit-filled moments. That's the sort of thing you cannot get from a choir. Well, not as much as from a group of good non-singers.

Now the prayer before each session... It was different. This is the first non-public school I've been to in the 20-some years of schooling. I don't know what the prayer did for anyone else, but it freed me. I knew that I wasn't learning for the sake of learning, but really I was learning to teach others what I learned, for the sake of spreading knowlege and faith. This is new to me, bear with me. I.. felt that there was something inside that was hungry for what was being fed. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Tomorrow is choir (Schola Cantorum). I've been corrected for calling it choir. I can't wait for my first chapel on Wednesday. I should have gone today, but I guess my laziness over took that thought before I had it.

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