Monday, January 4, 2010

The Marathon

This morning, a kindly intentioned staff colleague asked me if preparations for Easter begin this week. Hello? I just got in from a week's vacation following the hurricane that is December! Can someone cut me some slack here?

But, of course, yes we will begin some preparation for Easter, this week. It's what we do ...

Forget, for the moment, if I can, that we also have our rather significant annual missions festival in February. And it is no one else's fault but mine own that I will be teaching a general education music appreciation course for 8 weeks, beginning next week. No one needs to remind me that we do these things to ourselves.

In the normal course of music ministry, we run 2 marathons each year: from fall kickoff to Christmas, and from January to Easter. About 16 weeks of "training" and a short season of long-distance exertion. The weekly rehearsals and services are like the training schedule: routine workouts, regular efforts, the occasional extra workout, the lengthening long run. And then, race day (or race week, or race month, depending on the season). And when the event is done, one goes back to "normal;" there are those weekly workouts and regular efforts.

I'm a cyclist, myself, so until recently I've only heard about this training schedule. (Cycling has its own analog, but fewer people relate to it.) But this year, though I am no runner, the Easter marathon is smack in the center of an actual running marathon for which I am now in training. My first. Could be my only. (I'm a cyclist, myself.) Regardless, it could hardly be less conveniently placed in my life schedule. But there it is, and I put it there. I mention it today just because the nature of the coming season - we are always on to "the next thing" - was unintentionally forced on me this morning.

And it reminds me of the comment I heard long ago, about church choir members. They, it was said, are the marathon runners in our music ministries. They put in the long hours, week after week, and when it comes time race time, there they are. I have since celebrated them for it. Now, for the first time, I'm going to get an up-close and personal look at what that metaphor is really about!

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