Dear Friends in Christ,

“O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth”
(Psalm 96:1).

Two weeks ago, I was blessed to worship with Pastor Beth Westphal, and the people of God at St. Paul, Marblehead (Danbury Township) and St. John, Lakeside-Marblehead.

We worshiped with an “Inside-Outside” Service. All of the windows and the front door of the sanctuary were thrown open, so that we could hear the sweet sound of the organ. A quartet of singers, who were physically distanced from each other, belted out the hymns, while we listened. I preached from the front steps of the open-door sanctuary. The congregation (all with face coverings) was spread out on the front lawn in family groups. The ushers helped us keep the necessary distance from one another. The service was also live-streamed for those who were unable to attend the in-person “Inside-Outside” Worship Service. What struck me at the end of the service was the organ postlude. As I sat (outside) and listened to Louise Rogers play (inside), I realized that it had been too many months since I heard the sweet sound of an organ… and I missed it.

Last Sunday, I had a similar, yet different experience while worshiping virtually with Pastor Will Haggis and the people of God at St. Mark, Van Wert. The opening hymn was one of my favorites, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”. Once again there was an organ and the words of the hymn were printed on the screen. I was alone, and in my study, with all the windows closed, so you better believe that I sang to the Lord a new song. I was reminded that we don’t always have to be in a church building to worship God.

Some years ago, I remember talking with a young man after Bible Study, who told me that he didn’t care much for music, especially church music. He said, “It’s so boring and slow. And it takes up the whole service”. I asked him what he thought heaven was going to be like. He talked about rest, and fun, and seeing people who had gone there before him. I casually mentioned that there would be lots and lots of church music and showed him Revelation chapter 5, where the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the saints sing and new song… forever.

Music is such an important part of worship, and like many of you I miss congregational singing. But I also know that there will come a day, when we will all sing together once again… in worship and in eternity. Until that day, worship as you are and worship where you are.

“O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth”