Celebrate with Voice of Heart & Soul

This week’s eNewsletter
feature story is written by
Jim Teague, FPCE communications coordinator

Dear friends,


Happy Independence Day! Are you going to a parade, a patriotic concert, or fireworks with musical accompaniment?

Odds are you’ll hear a lot of old favorites like “It’s A Grand Old Flag,” “America the Beautiful,” or “This Land is Your Land.”

Myself, I get all pumped up by piccolos, big brass sections, and drums. Lots and lots of drums! No matter where we’re at, I tap my feet, clap my hands, and sing along to whatever the band is playing.

My oldest and dearest friend, Adam, is a phenomenal singer. We were both in our high school chorus and did a fair bit of musical theater together as well (he got all the best parts). He eventually helped pay for his law degree by delivering singing telegrams. Adam never held back, always “selling it to the cheap seats,” as we used to say.

In the early 1990s, Adam and his wife moved to Chicago, and he and I decided to make a day of baseball by taking in a day game at Wrigley Field followed by a night game at what was then the new Comiskey Park.

When we rose to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Wrigley, Adam belted it. It was deep and strong and loud. Really loud. I’m convinced both dugouts heard him (despite us being in the upper deck), and I know for a fact the entire section we were in heard it all too well, as more than a few of our fellow fans turned and looked on as he outdid the soloist on the field.

Not all of the looks were kind or approving, and – though I, too, sang our national anthem – I kind of shrunk back with a sort of “I know him but I’m not really here with him” kind of posture. But Adam didn’t care about the hard stares and mumbles that broke out all around us. Even though he calls himself an introvert, he loves singing. It’s a core part of who he is.

My recollection is the anthem at the second game went without incident. Either Adam held back for my benefit or I might have been hiding in the restroom.

On Sunday, Pastor Ray Hylton will be preaching from Ephesians 5:15-20. Among Paul’s exhortations is the call to “be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts…” (NRSV).

The NIV translation puts it this way:

“Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord…”

In both translations, Paul’s call is to a collective group rather than just individual believers. And he wants us to give our attention to one more key performer: The Holy Spirit, who is not auditioning soloists, but rather leading the choir.

I want the melody of my heart to be offered with the same gusto that my friend Adam gives to the national anthem. I want it to be full-throated, unreserved, and emotional.

As the old spiritual “When the Saints Come Marching In” says, “Lord, I want to be in that number!”

Have a blessed holiday weekend and join us Sunday at 10 a.m. for our worship service.


Jim Teague

FPCE Communications Coordinator