“Let my spirit always sing, though my heart be wintering…”
2020 we were all thrown for a loop; one Sunday in church singing hymns and the next Sunday…nothing. Church buildings were closed and worship was adapted for an at home congregation. Resurrection, Halifax, went to Facebook live streaming and email church that included recorded hymns and sermons uploaded to the church YouTube channel. The worship team (my household) provided worship for the community. It filled a need, yet, felt empty without congregational responses and singing. I am a musician who experiences God through music. I felt empty and decided that I needed something more.
I started a daily lectionary reading and hymn of the day series (posted in FB group). Monday to Saturday I post the daily lectionary readings and a hymn that I’ve recorded and uploaded to the church YouTube channel. I began this for myself and for my church community. It didn’t take long to realize that other churches, pastors, and worship leaders were using the hymns. Resurrection received thank you emails and messages from worship leaders in Lutheran congregations across the US, Canada, and a few from overseas. I was surprised, humbled, and overjoyed that this small ministry project grew into a well-used resource.
The project fostered new relationships. My two favourite:
A person named Rusty Edwards asked to join Resurrection’s Facebook group. Rusty Edwards is a Baptist minister in Halifax. Rusty made comments on Facebook appreciating hymn interpretations. I realized that this was not the Baptist minister, but, rather, the prolific hymn composer. Rusty sent me some of his hymns to produce video in my musical style. I use a Yamaha CVP 905 with hundreds of different musical accompaniments. My style varies including: rock, pop, classical, jazz, soul, R&B, Blues, country, and dance music. Based on comments, 99% enjoy church hymns in a unique style, while 1% ask, “Why I’ve ruined such a lovely hymn?”
Resurrection was introduced to the All Creation Sings hymnal, using the hymns as preludes, pew editions to be purchased later. A month into this project we received an e-mail from a retired Lutheran minister in Pennsylvania asking, “how many books for your pews?” Fifty books arrived as a thankyou for being included in the online worshiping community. A wonderful surprise!
It’s been 2 1/2 years of pandemic living.
Regular in-person worship services continue to include live stream. YouTube videos are recorded and support email worship. Churches are offering hybrid worship. There continues to be a need for online church hymns and (by request of users) embedded words for watchers to sing along. The music ministry project has once again grown. I have created a new YouTube channel (Tim McNabb- Lutheran Church musician) that makes it easier to find hymns for the next four Sundays. The channel has playlists of the hymn suggestions from Augsburg Fortress’, Sundays and Seasons.
I am thankful that pandemic living has encouraged me to hone and share the gifts God has given me. I am thrilled that hope and God’s love has spread and continues to be spread through music!
“…God to whom my days belong, let there always be a song.” – Hymn 1020, All Creation Sings