On the mind of the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

May 24, 2024

Last Sunday, we had an especially joyful service of Holy Eucharist for the Day of Pentecost, a Principal Feast in the Church. This included a jazz quartet, reading the first lesson in different languages, a prayer activity with candles representing the fruit of Spirit, and extra acolytes on deck – all to enhance our worship experience. Two of the acolytes were twin brothers. At one point during the Eucharistic Prayer, our crucifer (a father who raised two boys himself) had to stand between the brothers to ensure everyone stayed appropriately reverent.

It reminded me of the time that I had to do the same with another set of twin brothers when our former Rector, the Rev. Doug Ousley, was celebrating the Eucharist. Normally these brothers, affectionately called the “Sons of Anarchy” by our Master of Ceremonies, were not allowed to serve as acolytes together because of said anarchy. But it was Easter, so there you go.

Anarchy or not, and all appropriate reverence aside, I remember how one of these brothers would belt out the Sanctus. The Sanctus is the sung portion of the Eucharistic Prayer when everyone sings, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts: Heaven and earth are full of thy Glory….” I would always smile really wide when this happened. I loved how this teenager who hardly looked thrilled to be in church would all of a sudden be worshiping with such gusto!

Music is like that. I don’t know the brain chemistry of it all, or what cortexes are activated when we sing, but I love how religious music can get in our bones, grow our faith, and give us hope. There’s a saying in the Episcopal Church that “praying shapes believing.” Singing, which St. Augustine called “praying twice,” shapes believing too.

This Sunday, we’ll take a special opportunity to honor the Incarnation Choir’s role in shaping our beliefs and bringing us closer to God. It is the Choir’s final Sunday before breaking for the summer, and we will gather in the Assembly Hall midway through Coffee Hour for a farewell song.

Last year’s song was a Dr. Thomas Reefer original – “Adieu and Bon Voyage” set to the tune of “New York, New York.” I’m sure this year’s song will be just as clever and fun. Please join us! Although, be warned. You might get an earworm depending on how catchy it is.

Or perhaps you’ll get a religious earworm in worship – the Sanctus, the Gloria, the traditional hymn for Trinity Sunday (“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!”). In fact, I hope you do. I just heard my husband singing a praise song from his youth – “Here I am to worship” – while surveying the contents of our fridge. Now it’s in my head too. Thanks be to God.