Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reverence Does Not Require a Glacial Pace

I read an hysterical blog post over at Mormon Mommy Wars, and it got me thinking about hymns.

Let me preface this with an anecdote that will illustrate my personality and attitude towards worship well:
We have really struggled this year, and have had to lean heavily on our faith, our hope, and our trust that tithing works and we will make it through. Through most of it, I have had to be the bright, shining beacon of optimism, as it seemed no one else was up to it. In public I have been the happy cheerleader; "It will all work out! We can do it! Go team poverty!" In private, its been a little less peppy. I was bearing my testimony about this experience, and was very emotional. I related that the reserve of optimism finally ran dangerously low, and I had a little talk with the Lord. "Look, Lord, I trust you, and I know you'll take care of us. But if we don't get some help by Friday, I'm probably going to have to freak out." I was very sincere. I was very emotional. And this line got a laugh. I was puzzled. I asked around. It turns out most people don't talk to God like that. I find this baffling. How is the Savior supposed to be your best friend if you don't talk to Him like He is? Evidently, while I have a deep faith and respect for and in the Savior, I am a whole lot less formal than most in my worship.
There. Now you know.
I love the hymns of Zion. Few things bring me more comfort and peace, and some of my most powerful spiritual manifestations have come to me through hymns. That being said, do we have to sound so mournful all the time? When you sing at a funeral's pace, its bound to sound like a funeral. I have personally wondered if my arm was going to fall off while conducting sacrament hymns with 1 verse, no chorus, but an organist that is playing like my five-year-old reads: A....mi....tee...fo-or-tress...i-is our....God (with a fermata! Hold that for eight counts!) Even a one-verse hymn takes 15 minutes when it has 8 fermatas. Sure, it says to sing "with dignity," but my dignity is not painfully slow! I just timed how long it takes to sing this hymn at sacrament speed: 1:07.23. I just banged that thing out in a reverent 40 seconds flat. So here's my final question:
How much trouble to do you think I'd get in for taking a pen and adding to every mood instruction, ",but briskly" so "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" would read, "With dignity, but briskly."
It's a lot more subtle than, "Pick up the pace, people! Even God is falling asleep!"