Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Human Voice

In our churches, "Spirit of Life," by Carolyn McDade, has been popular since the mid-1960s.  It is a familiar song to me and others who have grown up in our denomination.  The melody is sweet and the message is compelling.

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of life, come to me, come to me.

On Sunday, "Spirit of Life" was on the order of service.  It made me smile, remembering my youthful enthusiasm over singing--still for me an essential part of a Sunday service.  My father came to church with me to reconnect with familiar surroundings and familiar people.  When he was a young man, Dad had been encouraged to study voice.  Instead he chose the ministry where he met my mother--then the theological school choir director.  Over 20 years ago, Dad moved from his position of many years looking out from the pulpit to sitting among the congregation.  Now he is approaching his 96th birthday and is weaker of body and less sharp of mind.  His voice, however, does not age.

I enthusiastically joined in singing in earnest when Dad's voice became more and more a part of my consciousness.  I was overcome with emotion to hear him--even in his dotage--a voice as lovely as it ever was--true and precise and strong.  Unable to sing, I tried to gain control of my own voice, wiping my tears and hoping he didn't notice. 

This experience was a gift--a nod to the power of the voice and the human spirit.