Taking Our Cues

*If stormy clouds should hide the stars,                                                                                                                        no fearful thought is mine.                                                                                                                                          Far beyond, far beyond all earthly shores                                                                                                      The stars, the heavenly stars still shine.

We used our time on Sunday to learn these words – the 2nd section of the piece we are planning to sing in worship during the Advent season.  (“They’re called lyrics.  I know because my dad is in a band,” one friend told us.)

As we turned our attention to singing, a small voice interjected, “What about our Q?”  Not sure I had heard her correctly, I asked, “Did you say you want me to give you a cue?”  “Like this,” she affirmed, lifting her chin in a gesture most musicians would recognize.  Yes, we explained, a cue is a signal.  In this case, a signal so that everyone will know when it is time to start singing by taking a breath together.

Collective Breath.  Such a beautiful image!  Such a difficult reality!!

During our WorshipArts time, speaking for the adults, I’m sure we are giving numerous cues.  The intentional ones may include cues to promote engagement, cues to provoke reflection and critical thinking, cues for behavior expectations.  And it is true that the children are also giving cues – often physical cues that may indicate, “I’m thinking – give me time,”  “I’m confused,”  “I’m excited,” or “I’m bored.”  Cues that may indicate, “I WANT ATTENTION,” or “please don’t call on me.”

With the wide age-range in our group – and a somewhat non-traditional format – we do sometimes struggle to meet all the needs and our intentions at the same time.  What happens when needs and intentions are in conflict with each other?  Mutually exclusive even?  What happens when it feels like there isn’t enough time to see our ideas through?  How do we honor the voices that are heard and the voices that are not always heard… or even absent?

Several years into this, and I still don’t know the answer.  But week after week, we lift our eyes… or a chin – and start with a collective breath.

                                                                             *anthem lyrics by Pauline Delmonte