The Christmas story is carried as much by the music as by the words. Without the carols we would have a curious folk tale about a young family facing enormous obstacles, yet getting through them with divine assistance. It would be a lovely story, but would it live in our hearts? Put itto music, sing it to our children, and the story embeds itself deep inside—it comes alive!
Music has this uncanny ability to take a thought, an idea, a story, and plant it in our hearts. This is why music is such a powerful vehicle for worship. Whether it be the ethereal strains of Gregorian Chant, the driving pulse of Shape Note singing, or the swinging choruses of Gospel Music, music takes the message from our heads into our hearts, by way of our bodies. In other words, it makes it real!
We have been blessed with a long line of musical directors at St. Stephen’s, each one putting their own stamp on our worship experience. Jeff Jones has been with us for thirteen years, but this weekend will mark his final performance as he leads the choir in our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, with is wife,voice actor Maureen, narrating. Jeff’s leadership has found that subtle balance between musical excellence and personal accessibility. Our congregation has lingered every Sunday to enjoy his postludes, and our choir has loved working with him.
Thank you, Jeff, for placing the Gospel in our hearts, where it belongs.