Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blissful Joy by Ruth Smith Meyer

This week brought me moments of exceptional satisfaction and deep warmth that are difficult to describe.  I thought of the time when I was asked to list the things that would bring me bliss. Yes, that may be the word, but I couldn’t decide whether to call my feelings bliss, or joy, so I looked up the definitions for both.

Bliss:  supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment

Joy: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

Bliss seems to almost be unearthly—and there was an element of that.  Joy is quiet earthy but didn’t quite encompass all I wanted to say. I came to the conclusion that I needed to use both.  I decided to share with you that I experienced blissful joy this week.

We all have different things in our lives that bring us deep joy and satisfaction, but often they are such different activities that they can’t easily be combined.  For example you may find a lot of enjoyment in both running marathons and baking, but those two can’t be enjoyed at the same time. As writers, each one of us could name some things we love to do, but they interfere with the quiet solitude and extended time we need to do meaningful writing.

In the past year, though my loves of writing and singing were wonderfully blended when I sorted through the beautiful music our choir has sung over the years.  I chose the theme, “God so loved the world.” Who could have put that together better than John Stainer in his beautiful rendition of that Bible truth? 

The first line introduced the theme then came as a reprise several times throughout the different songs that had become precious to the choir. The truth and depth of God’s love became more and more apparent so that each time those first lines were repeated, the message was driven deeper into my heart as I kept compiling the cantata.

 I decided that the full rendition of God so Loved the World would be a fitting ending, but by the time I hummed through the song, I knew that I needed to voice a response to God’s love and I added “Alleluiah”  by Jay Althouse and thought it fitting to allow the congregation to share in their personal response too, by singing Joy to the World.

That was the singing part—then I began to write narration, trying to put into words my inner feelings about the Christmas story as expressed in the songs I had chosen. As always with my writing, it’s a joy to find words to adequately communicate what I’m trying to convey.  I wanted to articulate not only the historic facts of the birth of Christ, but the love that can come to our world today, that can be born in our hearts if we allow room in our inner sanctums for Jesus' presence to enter there.

In the past two months a community choir has been practicing the finished product.  Along the way, there were heard remarks about the beauty of the words and music. As always when rehearsing different parts to master the more difficult ones and catch the glitches that happen in any collection, we sometimes wondered if it was going to come together. 

Last Monday night, the narrators were there to do their part, and the effect began to be felt. Friday night, the night of our concert, people began coming early, sitting in quiet anticipation.  The overhead lights were slightly dimmed, the twinkling white lights shone from the evergreen swags and grapevine trees. The congregation and choir joined in Silent Night, the choir introduced the theme with the first two lines of God so Loved the World, and the narrators reflected God’s love and desire to be in relationship, in the warmth of their words. The director, the pianist and the flautist as well as the soloists, and choir built on the theme, making it real to the participants and the listeners.  It was even reported that there were some wiping tears from their eyes.  Many comments were made at the language being so every-day so the meaning came through that the message was applicable to the here and now.

As I lay in bed that night until sleep came, I became aware of the the gifts God gives.  We don’t always know how it will turn out and if anyone else will benefit, but when others are blessed, we get to feel a part of something far bigger than ourselves and we stand in amazement and awe.

I pray that each of you may find joy in giving and sharing what God has given you, and that you, too, will be participants in God’s plan. 


Peter Black said...

Wonderful! Ruth, I was unaware of how deeply you were into music! Another talent, or rather, "gift," brought to light. Our knowing that others are blessed through the sharing of our gifts is sublime. I'm sure I feel your blissful joy, myself. ~~+~~

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

Thank you, Peter. You are such an encouragement!

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