I was sitting in church and suddenly it dawned on me. Keith was playing the organ. He is our organist at the church and the week before he was not there. A guest organist was there and I knew it when I heard the first notes. It didn’t sound the same.
But, last week Keith was back. And all was right with he world. I am accustomed to his practices in worship. I know how long he waits to begin the introduction to hymns. I can detect the subtle differences in the way he plays a spiritual or a classical piece. His selection of the music for the offering is diverse and interesting.
As I sat there listening last Sunday, I realized how much we take Keith’s presence for granted. Here is an artist who shares his gifts each week. He has practiced piano and organ for hours on end throughout his life. He works on music each week to enhance the experience of worship. He selects music that helps communicate the message for the morning. He courageously puts his music into the worship knowing that each mistake he might make will be noticed. And yet, he keeps sharing his love of music with us.
But all to often I come and go from worship, failing to notice how important his gifts are for my experience of the divine presence. His constant presence, his gifts woven through the words, prayers and liturgy, his leading of the congregational hymns with the touch of fingers on a keyboard, all help create a unified experience. All the different things that we do in the worship service and held together by the sensitive contribution of Keith’s talent with he organ and the piano.
I noticed last Sunday, and I deeply appreciate an artist who often goes unnoticed.