Silence and Song
"“Be still and know that I am God” “Praise God with trumpet sound; praise God with lute and harp! Praise God with tambourine and dance; praise God with strings and pipe! Praise God with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” "
Psalm 41:1 and 150:3-5
Recently when asked at a First Parish gathering, “What is it that feeds you at FPC?” I focused on two things, remarkably different, one very quiet and one very loud.
First the quiet thing. Silence is a golden gift to the human spirit. In a world torn by war and violence silence allows the “still small voice” to break through the clamor of the events of our life. To be still helps us focus on what is important to us. Meister Eckhart said it well, “What (one) takes in by contemplation, that he(/she) pours out in love.” Three thousand years ago the Psalmist urged listeners to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 41:1).
First Parish offers a weekly Meditation Group that meets every Friday at 8:15AM. This Meditation Group offers silence, up to an hour if you choose, to sit with others as one seeks to calm the body and to still one’s mind for a word from God. Communal meditation offers support and structure that strengthens both the person and the community.
As for the loud thing, it is the music at First Parish. Yes, we have the soft sounds in worship like bells, voices and instruments. But we also have the opportunity to hear the bold expression of anthems and hymns accompanied with our magnificent organ. Our splendid Hutchings-Plaisted organ built in 1883 has moved the spirits of worshippers for 140 years. I love to heartily sing hymns like “Now Thank We All Our God” and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” accompanied with a combination of 1,301 pipes, 23 ranks, 2 manuals, 21 stops. Dr. Jane Hagness knows how to stir worshippers with soft whispers to bold brassy sounds from those pipes.
What stirs your soul at First Parish Church?