đź’¬ Comments

I gained an immeasurable amount of experience working at a church while part of a placement program after college. The experiences I have from that church are ones I still work through to this day. One of those experiences was Holy Week.

Being a musician in church often meant that it was assumed I would sing. However, this time, being the assisting music minister, my participation went far beyond just one piece or hymn–this was creation and interpretation, collaboration and organization. This was my first taste of daily services! I thought the level of coordination that this church operated would burn me out, but the opposite happened. By the arrival of Holy Week, my personal participation in my program was reaching its greatest strain, and I was leaning more heavily into my work obligations to compensate for the distant and lacking support from my program. Services began on Palm Sunday, and I led music through the Tuesday of Holy Week. Though I was not due to return to my music duties until Maundy Thursday’s service, I found that on Wednesday, I wanted to go to that service too. It wasn’t required of me; in fact, I was deliberately missing program activities because of these daily services. But I wanted to be there, in church. So, I went. It was slowly paced and quiet. And for the first time in maybe ever, I felt a holiness just because I was there with myself. I felt part of things. I felt close with God. I returned on Thursday, and I sang. I felt closer with God. This surprised me. I returned on Friday–I don’t even think I spoke aloud that day because I was stuck in this feeling of change within myself.

I skipped Saturday, wanting to be at that evening’s service but needing to think. And on Easter Day, I realized that God and I had been talking that week, taking turns listening to one another. In the middle of singing (God’s timing, right?), I felt something settle in: a kind of untouchable love. Untouchable like—was it really there? Was it really for me? Processing afterward, I recognized a piece of God’s love that I’d always felt I was missing out on for reasons I wish to forget. Finally, my own experience of the eternal love and sacrifice. All mine.

— Nia McKenney

Photo: Pixabay

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