". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

International Center Chapel

My husband and I were in St. Louis Sunday and Monday. We visited the headquarters of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, also known as the International Center (IC for short). The occasion was the dedication of a new Boston grand piano recently donated to the IC chapel. Phillip was invited to serve as the musician and choir/instrumental director for the special chapel service, after which there was a reception followed by a short recital of classical piano music intended to showcase the new instrument. Then Phillip and I were honored to attend lunch with our synodical president Rev. Matt Harrison and several members of his office as well as the guest recitalist, the Boston-Steinway representative who facilitated the sale (herself a good LCMS Lutheran), and the family who donated the piano (who are friends of ours and members of our congregation).

A few observations about the day . . . .

The International Center chapel is quite a lovely room, made lovelier now with the addition of this fine new instrument. The chapel service was beautiful. Synodical President Rev. Matt Harrison was the liturgist and preacher. The instrumentalists and choir were excellent. Musical selections included Phillip's piano arrangement of Lamb of God as a prelude, which in its use of a broad harmonic, tonal and dynamic palette provided a great showcase for the new piano. Marty Haugen's "Shepherd Me, O God" was the psalm, Phillip's recently composed concertato on "Father Welcomes" (which in its use of instruments and choir turns that simple song into something quite special) was the hymn, and his CPH published arrangement of "Our Paschal Lamb That Sets Us Free" for flute and piano served as postlude. The service was videotaped and I hope will be made available at some point. I'll let you know if it is.

Our Synodical President is a warm, humble, fun-loving, pastoral man. I knew that before, but each time I see him I am reminded of it again. We are so blessed to have him in that office. I pray his tenure there is long.

My husband looks really good behind a piano (see below). :-)

The International Center is the quietest place I have been in a long time, quieter even than a library or a dentist's waiting room. I had to spend a couple of hours after lunch waiting for my husband as he attended a meeting in the President's office, and merely coughing or typing on my laptop seemed to intrude upon the silence. But the quiet is not a reflection of the activity that is going on there. Those people work HARD. I rode back from lunch with several of the administrative assistants in the President's office, and that short car ride impressed me with two things: those ladies are amazing, and I am so glad I am not a career woman. I would not be able to handle the pace or the pressure.

Here are a few photos from the day. I fell down on the job and got no pictures at the reception, the tour of the President's office, or lunch (I must have been suffering from celebrity awe), but here are some shots of the warm-up before chapel.

Be still, my heart.

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