When I first started singing classical music, The Lord's Prayer was one of my favorite songs. I admit (to my own mild embarrassment) that Charlotte Church was my first real exposure to "songs for soprano" and I remember thinking, "I didn't know singing like this was an option! This is how I want to sing!" It's probably similar to a woman's thoughts after her first taste of chocolate. Anyway, one day I was in my dad's room singing The Lord's Prayer for him and then he asked me a question I will never forget: "Will you sing this for me at my funeral?"
I know it's a sad way to start a post, but there's a sweet element to this story. I ended up recording the piece ahead of time so I wouldn't have to attempt to sing at his funeral (there's no way that would have happened) but also so that my father could hear it himself. We gave him the recording about a month before he died and he listened to it many times.
The reason I've been thinking about The Lord's Prayer lately is because I'm going to sing it again- this time, for a speaking event held by our seminary; Tim Keller is coming to Dallas to teach on "the Gospel of Peace." I've realized- it's because of that very "Gospel peace" that I could sing words like, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done" as I watched my father's casket be wheeled away. It's because of God's peace that he could say during his last week of life, "don't cry for me. It's ok." It's because of God that we can have peace at all- and peace through even the most heart-wrenching grief of our lives.
This week I've also been thinking about this song as a testament to God's goodness- that the same "gift" I offered up during one of the darkest times of my life is a gift I can offer up now, in a season of pure joy. That He has truly "turned my mourning into dancing" (Ps. 31) but given me the same song to sing. What an opportunity to worship!
God, here is my song, my gift. I'm singing Your Words and I thank you that they're true in moments of delight and in moments of despair. Thank you that I don't need to erase the painful past in order to enjoy the beautiful present. You have all of me, my whole story. You haven't erased my pain, but You've redeemed it, and You've given a new dimension to the song that I sing. And right now I'm thankful for this season of bliss, but I also know that because of who You are, I don't need to fear any future suffering. I know that this peace You give doesn't come from my circumstances- it comes from You in the midst of them.