Awake, my soul

April 8, 2012

There are many things I like about Easter, but one of the best has to be the glorious music. When I was little, the older children’s choir at our church always sang “In Joseph’s Lovely Garden,” and I always found both the music and words very moving. (Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough for that choir, the music program had changed and that choir no longer existed, so I never got to sing it.)

Once I was old enough to join the adult choir, I got to sing the Hallelujah Chorus for Easter. As the lone high schooler in the group, I struggled to learn the alto part while the adults easily sang through it from many years of practice. Once I had learned it, though, I was disappointed to discover, over the next several years, that most churches do not perform it every Easter, as did the church I grew up in. (Adults in most church choirs seem to consider it too difficult, and I have to admit that in some cases they may be right.)

Even so, there are several wonderful Easter hymns to sing. There are “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today,” two hymns by Charles Wesley that are so similar that unless I have a hymnal in front of me I tend to intermix the words and music of both hymns. I never heard “Low in the Grave He Lay” until I was a teenager at a fundamentalist church, and I have to admit that it has never become one of my favorites, but it provides an effective contrast between the disciples’ grief, and the joy of the resurrection, that few other hymns do.

Today, at the early service (I am reluctant to call anything at 7 AM a sunrise service) at the Methodist church, we finished with “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” Like the Hallelujah Chorus, it speaks more to me of Christ’s Lordship over all than specifically of the Resurrection, but if one is fit for Easter then certainly the other is also. What struck me as we sang it this morning, though, was the first half of the third line: “Awake, my soul, and sing.”

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The Best Medicine

April 8, 2008

On the bulletin board of our breakroom at work today, I noticed a new “health tip” had been posted. (As part of an effort to improve everyone’s quality of life and work, they post a new tip every week or two. They range from advice regarding diet and exercise to stress reduction techniques.) So far they have yet to post anything that was new information to me, but reading it is something to do while I wait for my lunch to heat in the microwave.

This week’s tip is on the importance of humor. It obviously is good for stress relief, but from what I have read its health benefits go even further. The one-page tip did not go into details, but I easily pulled up some articles I remembered reading in Reader’s Digest. Laugh Your Way to Good Health describes the health benefits of laughter, and The Science of Humor tells how researchers “are beginning to understand exactly how our brain’s humor muscles figure out what’s funny.” In The Healing Power of Humor, a heart surgeon tells how humor helps in his practice.

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