It was branch conference last Sunday.
For those not of the LDS faith, it's a once-a-year occasion in the local congregation when the next-higher tier (stake) leaders--both the ecclesiastical and auxiliary leaders--come and give the lessons. The stake president also gives a talk in the worship service. These lessons and talks contain insights the leaders want to share with us, and encouragement for further advancement in faith and good works during the coming year.
Our choir leader choose a special arrangement of a well-beloved hymn for the choir to prepare and present. Mind you, our choir generally consists of about ten people. The arrangement she chose was written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of over three hundred singers. Most of the choir members don't really read music, especially the men. The Mack Wilberg version of the hymn is quite complex, including several key changes, and eight voice parts at the end.
Well. We don't have any tenors to speak of, and eight parts into ten people generally leaves 1+ person per part. Our chapel isn't huge, so that's okay. It wasn't volume that concerned me. I worried about our ability to render the arrangement in any recognizable fashion. Not that amateur singing was my paramount concern. I know that the spirit the choir brings to the congregation's worship experience is much more important than whether or not a few sour notes get produced. I worried that Lynn would be disappointed, that the choir would feel deflated, or that God would not accept our puny efforts to do the arrangement justice.
Why do I bother to worry? Lynn did her due diligence to recruit visitors and more people from the branch to sing today. Some had practiced with us a time or two; others had not. The results: awe-inspiring!
The sound was full--angels must have joined us, as they have in the past. The spirit of God was in the performance. I felt it so strongly that when I sat down I cried for the overwhelming sense of love it brought. I'm crying now as I recall it.
"The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning."