By: Scott Taylor
Your staff at First United Methodist Church is living the dream! The pastors are all gone! With Keith in Spain and Becky in “Spain” (really she’s at Disney which has Epcot which probably has “Spain”), we’ve got the run of the place.
Obviously, we all love working with our exceptional pastors. But, I got excited a few months back when I realized that on October 14th we would have the opportunity for one week to do something different than our usual liturgy and service. So regardless of which service you attend at FUMC, this Sunday will be special.
First off, if you attend the 8:40 Awakening Service, you will have a service filled with all the great worship and music you expect each week. The preacher will be a new face to you. Joshua Smith is a current student at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta where he is studying to become an ordained chaplain. He is and has been a close friend of mine for many years now. I heard Josh preach for the first time this summer and was blown away. I am excited to welcome him at FUMC and to hear his word.
Upstairs, for the 8:30 and 11:00 services, our choirs will be leading worship in a special way. Our Chancel Choir and MorningSong ensemble will join together to sing Gabriel Faure’s deeply spiritual setting of Requiem. The beauty of Faure is only amplified by the beautiful singing of FUMC’s choral musicians. I am asking you to come expecting to experience not only the beauty of music, but to take a moment to examine your relationship to life by looking honestly at death.
We must look honestly at death. The Roman Catholic Requiem asks us to look honestly and specifically at death. Constantly throughout the liturgy and constantly in Faure’s setting, we hear the title word repeated. Requiem. There is no sinister nature in the word. It simply means “rest.” As we repeat that phrase, “rest”, we are called to consider what kind of rest: The kind of rest that our physical bodies long for each day. The kind of spiritual rest that God calls us to on the Sabbath. The kind of eternal rest when we see a loved one, beaten down by the cancers of this world, pass into the next. The kind of rest that teaches us something about joy in living.
To aid us in our honest discourse with death, Bill Everett has composed new poetry for this service which will be read between the various movements of the Requiem and which will be provided for the congregation. We invite you come as you are for a spiritual journey unlike any other that we’ve ever done on a Sunday morning.
And so, even as we will miss our pastors Keith and Becky this weekend, I am grateful to work at a church where such worship services as these are possible. I suggest that you consider attending more than one service on Sunday! Inspiration abounds!