Of all the legacies that my church and school gave me, knowing Jesus as my Lord and Saviour is top of the list. Music is in the top 10. I love to sing.
I thank God for giving me opportunities to sing in children choir, junior choir and senior choir. I became a handbell choir member in elementary. Our school was one of the pioneers of handbell choir in the Philippines. In high school, my friends formed a group called The Singing Evangelists. We sang in school and other church events, at summer camps or retreats. At church, I joined Solid Rock Congregation, sharing the gospel of Jesus through music.
Singing makes me cry as crying makes me sing. Music comforts my soul when I am sad. I feel better as I sing God’s promises when I am anxious or hurting. Singing inspires me to remember God’s grace in good times and bad. As I sing what I mean and mean what I sing, I am often moved to tears by the precious words of encouragement, comfort and wisdom found in God’s Word.
More than the songs, I treasure the friendships I gained in my music ministry. From childhood, through adolescence, till adulthood, I’ve come to know many people who have become my mentors and friends because we sang together. We learned new songs together. We gave much in time and effort to practice together for weekly choir offerings at church worships, singing the good news in mission trips, and celebrating God’s faithfulness at church anniversary concerts.
United Evangelical Church of the Philippines is my spiritual home since childhood till I became a mother. My children attended Sunday school, joined bible school, summer camps, and sang in choirs at UECP.
Today my family worships at another church. It is an international inter-denominational church that has been our spiritual home and place of worship for the past 10 years. While I love worshipping at this church, I am not a choir member. Each Sunday, I enjoy singing the hymns of worship. I would sing softly with the choir whenever they sing familiar pieces as I sat in the pew among the congregation. I miss singing in the choir. I miss my UECP choir family.
The Philippine government issued the first lockdown on March 16, 2020 because of Covid. Being ‘locked’ down at home was quite a challenge and struggle for me as days turned to weeks of seemingly depressive inactivity and unproductive time – wasted from binge-watching on Netflix. Mood swings, from anxiety to guilt in a lethargic state of body, mind and soul, affected my well-being. I began to imagine a bit of how it might be for prisoners in isolation – why it is a dreaded punishment.
About a month into the lockdown, my conductor-friend invited me to join the virtual choir. I chickened out. It’s been too long since I sang in the choir. To record my own voice – singing solo is not exactly my cup of tea. After watching so many virtual choirs singing all around the world, I finally decided to accept the challenge.
Virtual choir is not what I imagined it to be – singing, practicing and zooming TOGETHER in real time through the net. The choir appears to be many faces with different voices making music Together in time and space over the screen. Choir members are boxed individually side by side in one screen giving the impression that they did everything together in one place at one time. Surprise! Each singer records his/her voice without other voices/accompaniment in the background. As a newbie, I discovered that I have to record my singing alone – not a pip or a beep to accompany my voice in the audio file… that is a lot of dead air/sound space! After audio, comes video recording. I need to submit two files.
Amidst the challenges of submitting the best audio and video recordings I have, I am blessed by the hours of singing again and again the promises of God. My mood and countenance improved greatly in the midst of the quarantine, even when conflicts happened in the family, against the many concerns that plagued us when the world is battling COVID19. I learned and memorised 3 songs singing Soprano 2: You are Mine, People Need the Lord and We Are the Church.
I sang countless times (“You are Mine” by David Haas): “I will come to you in the silence. I will lift you from all your fear. You will hear my voice, I claim you as my choice. Be still and know I am here.” What an assurance and comfort it is to keep singing: “Do not be afraid I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and You are Mine.”
These thoughts spur me on. I believe God listens to my singing regardless of the quality of my voice. He sees the condition of my heart. He knows my limitation and accepts my offering not because I am perfect but because He is. He perfectly hears through all my imperfections.
I treasure these moments of worship – singing such beautiful songs – whether in the bathroom, or on the bed or seated properly in front of the camera. And to finally see the end product of all our hard work: those of our conductor, pianist, choristers, sound mixer, video editor(s) … what a joy to hold dearly in my heart; precious memories to keep for a long time!
I am further blessed by the joy it brings to so many other people when I shared our song offerings on FB.
Today, at this critical time of the pandemic world in crisis, People Need the Lord. They need to hear and know the God who said: You Are Mine!
Dear friends, listen to our choir offerings and be blessed..