Something which occurred at a recent Sunday Service at Danville’s First Presbyterian Church had all of us “looking above,” not just spiritually, but visually!
That morning, Rev. Jackson Weller, Minister of Discipleship, was preaching. Jackson sometimes also preaches the youth sermons, but that morning, there was an unusual dearth of youth, so the moment for young disciples was skipped. If I had been thinking fast enough, I would have suggested that some of us older, “rowdier” male members of the choir go down front to sit, listen, and of course, respectfully fidget as members of the “young at heart” (and behavior).
In his sermon, Jackson was vividly describing the “hubbub” going on in the separate gentile courtyard of Jerusalem’s ancient temple. He spoke vividly about the sellers and their various wares, remarking upon how exciting it must have been to be there in the midst of it all.
The more Jackson described the raucousness of those ancient men, the more I imagined myself being there, and suddenly, I heard them. Their “antiphonal cacophony” seemed to originate from somewhere beyond the sanctuary ceiling’s beautiful molding.
I turned to a fellow choir member and said, “You know, until now, I’ve always thought of ‘The Upper Room’ as a quiet, contemplative place.”
Not long afterwards, a hammering noise could also be heard; and being a “child of the 1950s-60s, I naturally thought of Peter, Paul, and Mary, (“If I Had a Hammer”).
Then, as coincidence would have it, our choir sang an anthem titled “The Work of Christmas.” Its lyrics dealt with the fact that long after the Nativity and the Three Wise Men’s return to their homes, the work of the church goes on throughout the year. At anthem’s close, the shouts and hammering from “Above” stood out again. I remarked to that same fellow chorister, “Listen! The ‘work’ of Christmas continues!”
By that time, I remembered there had been an earlier announcement concerning some weekday work going on in the second-floor music area. But that weekday work had spread into Sunday morning.
During the benediction, those “second-floor sounds” persisted. But following the benediction, they seemed to be overwhelmed by the rising volume of the post-service, congregational “background noise” of “Good to see you.” and “How has your week been?”