First United Methodist Church

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9am Contemporary | 11am Traditional

News & Devotions

Devotion from Pastor Rachel (July 23)

Music is a big deal in my world. I grew up in the musical theater community, I studied voice and piano as a youth, and I sang in the church Praise Band and children’s choir. I was a music education major with a vocal emphasis at Florida Southern College. And now, we have passed on the love of music to our children and so even though they are a little pitchy, they too fill my heart with joy when they sing.

But it is more than that. I feel so deeply connected to God with music. There isn’t one particular type or genre that I like or dislike, I’ve just always seen it as a love language where people of faith can communicate back to God. That is probably why there is so much about music and worship through Scripture. It isn’t just about the Book of Psalms, but throughout the story of God and God’s people singing and instruments were used to connect, communicate, and express. That is why it is a part of our Sunday morning worship too; it is our attempt through the lyrics of praise songs or hymns to come a little bit closer to the heart of God.

Now when I say that we are a musical family, I hope you don’t picture the Von Trapp Family Singers, we are far from there, but we do love to play music and sing together. We’ve even turned our office space in the new Parsonage into a bit of a music room with our grandmother’s upright piano and Ryan’s acoustic guitars. In the busyness of moving and getting used to my new role, I had forgotten how much music connects us with the Divine. Just yesterday, I had been looking for God all day long hoping to see God’s face and feel that presence but it seemed like I hadn’t quite found it and the day was almost at an end. We were home and it had been a long few days, but it was that rare hour before the rush of dinnertime, bath time, and bedtime that so many young parents, like me, know so well. I’m folding laundry and Ryan’s working in the office and out of nowhere, our kids who had just gotten home declared, “Daddy get your guitar and let’s start singing!” So picture this with me if you would. Ryan is playing his beloved Gibson J-200, Emmaline (our four-year-old) is playing “chords” on the piano and Charlie is pounding a djembe drum with all of his two-year-old might.

At first, I stayed on the couch folding laundry knowing that there was stuff still to do but then I came to my senses and realized where I really needed to be was in that space with my family making music and seeing the joy on their faces. One song that we have come to love and sing together is called “My Lighthouse.” It is by the Irish Christian Band, Rend Collective and we sang it at the Dinner Church on Sunday evenings that my family and I helped launch in South Florida. The lyrics go like this:

“In my wrestling and in my doubts,
In my failures you won’t walk out,
Your Great Love will lead me through,
You are the peace in my troubled.

My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow you.
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise, you will carry me
Safe to Shore.”

My kids know that song by heart since we sang it a lot at Dinner Church and although they have never been to a lighthouse or on a stormy sea, they know what it feels to be safe and to be carried. They know what it feels like to be loved and to be afraid of the dark. I don’t know where you are today; whether you feel safe at shore or tossed about on a stormy sea. I don’t know if you are afraid of this darkness or resting contently in God’s Love, but I do know that the Light of Christ will never lead us astray. I pray that however you worship, however you experience the presence of God, however you walk in that light of Christ you won’t let the mundane tasks like laundry or the frustrating monotony of our current situation get in the way. I pray that you will embrace every single opportunity to use music and song and the voices of little ones to bring you closer to your lighthouse, to the one who will always carry us safely to shore.