In my role as Senior Adult Minister at First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN, I have the privilege of planning dates for and singing with the Senior Adult Choir named “Joyful Sound.” It has been a blessing to me. Most Fridays will find us somewhere in the area singing in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. The activity directors of the facilities say that musical programs are some of their best attended ones.
I sometimes quip that “music is in a separate drawer of a different filing cabinet than speech or memory." I have seen virtually silent individuals sing every verse of every hymn when they have not spoken in almost a year. I have seen people sing with abandon when they could not have said what or if they’d eaten for breakfast. I’ve seen the smile of reminiscence when we sing Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue. I have seen folks cry as the words and the melody of Amazing Grace or In the Garden touched their hearts. It has made me wonder if that particular song was touching because it was played at a funeral, or because it was the favorite of a loved one, or because it promised eternity with God.
Singing together with folks makes a connection. After singing with them, they want to talk to us, to shake our hands, and sometimes to tell us some of their story. What we have shared binds us together in a unique way. Not every form of ministry both gives and receives blessings, but music ministry often does.
A couple of years ago, my grown children and their spouses and I went to a concert at a local outdoor venue. It had been a fun evening—the special magic of having all of one’s children together at the same time. We were sitting on blankets on a warm summer night. The moon was full and the band struck up Will the Circle Be Unbroken. I looked around and we were all singing with our heads thrown back and at full volume. A bit of heaven on earth. Music often takes us there.
Minister to Senior Adults and Congregational Care
First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, TN