Ray & Betty are taking a well-deserved vacation for a couple of days. A great benefit of this is it affords me an opportunity to write a bit to praise the good work that Betty does for our congregation. I am certain you are all aware of how diligently she works to involve people in both our vocal and bell choirs. And you are likely also aware that she selects the music for the 9:30 service at Sunday worship.
Along with balancing schedules between our wonderful organist and pianist and making sure we have live music for all our congregational songs, she also works with Chris Cummings and our sound team to ensure we are ready with recorded music when necessary. I’m sure we all agree that she gives an excellent balance between special music selections, including songs by the vocal choir, by our bell choir, or even wonderful solos as provided by six-year-old Jordan Beck (see photo).
So there is much about what Betty does of which you are likely already aware. And while there is not space to elaborate on all that Betty does behind the scenes, I would like to lift up one element of what she does each week, that perhaps goes unnoticed by many. Yet it can bring an element of “cool” to those who are aware.
Back in the early years of the Church, most of the world’s population was largely illiterate, for at this time it was more important for most of the population to focus on growing crops in order to sustain life rather than learning the finer points of parsing irregular verbs. So to aid a largely illiterate society in understanding and memorizing the biblical story then, something we now call the ‘Liturgical Calendar’ was developed.
For instance, it is the liturgical calendar which tells us when we celebrate Christmas. You see, it is unlikely that the true historical date of Jesus’ birth was Dec. 25th. In truth we don’t know on what day Jesus was born. But by picking this particular day to celebrate his birth, which was done in the 4th century, we were able to invite whole culture groups into a festival celebrating Jesus and what he accomplished for the world – making the birth story of Jesus the best known birth story of all time.
And so through time, the church has continued to add to, and refine, its liturgical calendar. Today, we have a calendar that has a special focus every Sunday. For instance, the First Sunday of November is “All Saints Day”- which actually led to the creation of Halloween the night before.
The behind the scenes “element of cool” that I mentioned earlier is that Betty selects the songs for the 9:30 service so that they coincide with the special observances, each week, of the liturgical calendar. For instance, when Jordan Beck sang her special number, it was in honor of ‘Children’s Day’. If you take note on the back of the bulletin we have started to include a notation simply titled “Liturgical Observance” which informs you as to what special focus Betty has used in that week’s song selection.
This is just one of many wonderful little attentions to spiritual detail Betty brings to her work for the church. When you see her back at church, be sure to thank her for all she does!