Christopher’s Sabbatical Reflection

Church employees, ironically, are notorious for not taking a weekly sabbath day. For better or worse, I am no exception in honoring the Fifth Commandment. But I learned in my former post that not only do I need sabbath, but also my parish needs me to take sabbath!

Many parishioners have asked me to share my experience of the past three months, and I think the best way to do that is in person. If you’d like to hear more, meet me in the church on Sunday, June 18, at 11:30 AM. I will share pictures, stories, music, and reflections from my travels.

Roughly, I had three goals: 1) Study the history and music of the Dutch Organ School (the final major tradition of organ playing that I had not studied); 2) Experience Lent, Holy Week, and Easter as a parishioner; 3) journey, as millions of people have before me, across Spain on the Christian Pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago. I felt that each of these would provide rest, renewal, and inspiration. They sure did! I played 17 pipe organs in Belgium and The Netherlands and took several lessons with five notable modern Dutch master artists. I visited several parish churches and cathedrals in England which culminated in 19 Holy Week/Easter services/events. And finally, I dragged my blister-oppressed feet halfway across Spain. It was everything I wanted and expected it to be, AND MORE!

It’s hard to summarize my sabbatical, but I’ll offer this visual: Imagine a mess of yarn, mashed up and disorganized. Knots become annoying, and you can’t even find the two ends! I’ve returned, I think, having unwound the mess and made an organized ball of yarn to begin to put it to good use again for many years!

This would not have been possible without the support of several people: Robert Lehman, Visiting Director of Music; Clayton Farmer, Assistant Organist (leading the Cranbrook Choristers); Matt Horn, Music Department Assistant and Diana Turner, Staff Singer (leading the St. Francis Choir), and many others who helped out along the way. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

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  1. Wonderful details, Christopher; wonderful image of the skein of yarn; and MOST wonderful to have you back lifting our voices and hearts.

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