Rings the music of the spheres

So, what do I do in my spare time?

Since November 2022, I’ve returned to doing something I haven’t done regularly since about 1990. For that matter, something I’ve rarely even done since I lost a tendon in my lower left leg following cancer treatment.

Recovery from the pandemic can be difficult for volunteer institutions, such as a church. I had been volunteering for years with the website and social media for Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore, Washington. Most all the pictures you see on the website were taken by me. I manage the website, even organizing a move to a better host. This is a natural for a technical communicator.

I’ve also been caught being a lector, usher, and acolyte. Right now, I’m the only person with experience (besides the rector) with a thurible (sometimes called the flaming handbag).

However, you cannot find an organist in the Seattle area right now. Many churches are doing without because no one can be found, short of stealing from another congregation. So, I’ve been dusting off some skills that haven’t been used for over 30 years. For that matter, I’m learning some new ones, since my left leg doesn’t work the same way anymore.

I’m regularly playing an organ for church services again. Not always playing.

The word “regularly” is used because my rector is a wise man. He might lose a webmaster and and organist if I were to become burned out. Besides, I know how to swing a burning handbag, and we just had Holy Week. Read that as my twice-per-month alter (altar?) ego played on Palm Sunday while I blew some smoke.

Screengrab from video of me using a thurible one week after having COVID-19.
Screengrab from video of me using a thurible one week after having COVID-19.

It has been interesting finding my old music, picking hymns to be played, and playing a small-but-wonderful pipe organ in a large, resonate space. To wit:

At the Lamb’s High Feast we sing.

This was recorded Sunday, April 23, 2023. It was the closing hymn.

If you notice carefully, you can barely see the tablet used to run the webcast of the service on the organ console. I’m the person choosing shots from the three cameras during the service. Afterwards, I download the live webcast to make some minor edits and to update or add copyright information for a new video in the online service archive. I also save a copy of the sermon in that archive for those who want to hear past sermons.

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
his hand the wonders wrought.

Maltbie D. Babcock (1838-1901)