CLERGY CORNER, Rev. Jim Dalton – August 24, 2020

I love music!

I love classic rock, our traditional organ hymns, and praise music from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Some of the contemporary praise music doesn’t do much for me; at least not the kind that doesn’t tell a story or seems to not be connected somehow to scripture, and they sing that same half-dozen words over, and over and over. However, if some people are moved by it, I think that is wonderful.

From 1989 – 1999, I worked with the youth at St. Stephen’s. We had a real active group or 10-15 youth during those years. I chaperoned them at many youth events at Camp Mitchell where some wonderful Christian formation took place. Some of the best conversations that I had with my adolescent son took place as he and I travel back home from the youth events at Camp Mitchell.

One of the highlights for me was the music and how welcoming the musicians were to have me join in. I wasn’t much of a guitar player and still am not. I was really bad when I began playing with them. But they just said …”bring your guitar and play with us, it’s the only way you will ever get better.”

My goal with my guitar skill has always been to be good enough to be able to play well enough sing along with songs that I love. One year the diocesan youth coordinator invited Lindy Hearne to attend the Arkansas Youth Event (AYE), held annually at Camp Mitchell. He accepted the invitation. Lindy is a wonder song writer, guitarist, and vocalist. There was a period of about 10 years in which he wrote a significant number of the songs used at the National Episcopal Youth Event (EYE). Each national EYE they published a songbook just for the event. I own several of them.

During the AYE weekend at Camp Mitchell, Lindy spent about two hours on Saturday night with the youth, the counselors, and the chaperones, playing and singing. All of us who had instruments were invited to play with him. What a wonderful spirit filled evening. To my surprise when it was time for the youth and cabin counselors to go to their cabins and get some sleep, Lindy asked the remaining adult chaperones if any of us wanted to stay and jam for a while. We did. We played and sang until about 2:00 AM. Lindy was NOT the one who gave out. It was the rest of us chaperones that folded first and said we had to get some sleep. The man has a passion for music and for sharing it with others.

This week as I wait for people to join me for Tuesdays and Thursday’s morning devotional, I plan to be playing one of his songs each of those mornings. I will not do them justice, but, I will sure enjoy playing them. And I will always remember having the opportunity to praise God in song with Lindy Hearne.

We thank you, Lord, for music: for rich harmonies and compelling rhythms; for peaceful melodies and the great, stirring choruses. When we listen to music or share in making it, help us to do so with our full attention, so that our hearts as well as our heads may be open to the hints of glory that music can give; through Jesus Christ, our Lord..

—Angela Ashwin, The Book of a Thousand Prayers