Pastoral Messages | October 8, 2020

On many afternoons as a second-grader, our daughter Rachel resituated the chairs from around our kitchen table and formed them into a semi-circle. That’s how she converted the family room into a choir room. Some of the greatest sacred music ever sung, perhaps since David composed the Psalms, emanated from those chairs. After placing a piece of sheet music on every seat – music borrowed from atop our piano – Rachel would then fill those chairs with imaginary friends. Each of them had names remarkably similar to her own friends at school. Notably, these choir kids respected their director. I never saw a single one of them talk back at Rachel, though, to be perfectly fair, she had some fairly stern tactics for maintaining choir discipline. She scolded those who weren’t listening well or who struggled to stay focused on the music.

She was also a marvelous cheerleader for this roomful of choristers. A little snappy hand clap and some affirming words from Rachel had every choir kid reaching his or her highest potential. Joy defined these choir moments. I remember her as a stickler for the finer points of musical execution. Diction was a big deal. So was repetition. So was posture. Her mother and I heard endless Alleluia refrains sung over and over again until the choir got it just right … or perhaps died of exhaustion. Sometimes it was hard to tell.

This wonderful chapter of our little blonde, fountain-topped daughter leading a children’s choir, inspired by her own happy experience with our church’s children’s choir program, ended all too soon. It turned out, however, to be a marvelous foretaste of the care, compassion, and leadership that would mark her next chapters in life.

Last Saturday in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Rachel took all of this stuff that God made her to be, and that we as her parents can only claim partial credit for, and got married. She didn’t take Dave as her husband, and he didn’t take Rachel as his wife, as marriage ceremonies typically have it. In the words of their vows, each received the other as a gift. It was a precious moment and day, in part because parental minds during such an experience tend to flash back through the whole evolution of a kid’s life.

Originally, Rachel wanted the wedding guests to sing a hymn, but masks and other pandemic considerations precluded that possibility. Perhaps it’s just as well we skipped the sung music. There was no one to direct it effectively. And, some of us in the choir had eyes too watery to read the words.

-Peter W. Marty, senior pastor

23 Comments on “Rachel”

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    October 23, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for this lovely glimpse into your family life! Blessings and happiness wishes forever for Rachael and Dave.

  • Sharon Ratliff-Crain

    October 16, 2020 at 9:34 am

    What a wonderful way to start married life by “receiving” each other as a gift! We should all start and live our marriages with this concept in mind.
    Congratulations to your daughter and your family. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Marie Lindmark

    October 15, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    My heart sings with joy for all your family experienced last weekend.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Rich Quinn

    October 11, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Peter; Thank you for sharing this special family moment. Rachel and Dave’s words of receiving rather than “taking” each other seem a much more appropriate way of saying their wedding vows. Until this message from you, I’m not sure many of us ever thought about those words we spoke during our wedding. Maybe we should change those words for future weddings. Congratulations to you, Susan and all your family. Marion and I send our love to you and all of our St. Paul members.

  • Laurayne Nelson

    October 10, 2020 at 10:13 am

    What a beautiful way to paint a memory of love. Thank you.

  • Renee Wade

    October 9, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    What sweet memories for you to cherish. Thank you for sharing them with all of us. God’s blessings to your family!

  • Renee Wade

    October 9, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Such sweet memories! Thank you for sharing those beautiful thoughts with all of us! God’s blessings you.

  • Heather Gosma

    October 9, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    So very happy for Rachel and for your family! What a beautiful message Peter! (Be sure you save the message so you can go back and re-enjoy the moment in times ahead!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Bridget Cullett

    October 9, 2020 at 10:10 am

    My eyes are a little watery, too. What a glorious day it must have been!

  • Jerry Bowman

    October 8, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    The metaphor of your words…..a warm embrace of the sun’s brilliance, a soothing wind to make the tinge of life turn blissful, the continuity of life in times so uncertain, the creative spirit we bring to each day, and you confirm that from these hardest of times of now, nothing can stop the heart, soul and mind to meld us together in LOVE!!

    Congratulations to you, Susan and new Family!!

  • Jim and Linda M.

    October 8, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Love this story. Indeed, a very special young lady from a very special family! Best wishes and blessings to Rachel and all of you.

  • Fran Carlson

    October 8, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    God bless your union! Love from our family. Fran & Wes

  • Suzanne Benson

    October 8, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Peter, tears fill my eyes as I read your words. So happy for all of you. I’m singing a hymn for all! Congratulations as your family grows in love.

  • John King

    October 8, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s wedding experience and your experience as her father.

  • Bonnie Beorkrem

    October 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Congratulations to Dave and Rachel as well as the parents! I’m guessing the surrounding were beautiful in the Colorado mountains. It made me reminise about a year ago we were in Yosemite National Park for my daughter’s wedding! I think this “Covid thing” has made for more intimate family occasions. Giving a chance to bring fewer family members closer and leading to more time to remember the wonderful priceless memories of when the children were growing up instead of time being spent in the hustle and bustle of large weddings.

  • Suzy Schindler

    October 8, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    May blessed and blissful days be theirs…

  • Kathi Atha

    October 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Congratulations! Wonderful news and a great story as usual! Kathi Atha

  • Kristi Masterson

    October 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    So incredibly sweet! Congratulations!

  • Myrna Tubbs

    October 8, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for that touching story of your daughter and her wedding. Congratulations.

  • Terre Klipsch

    October 8, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you for these precious words from your mouth to your daughter’s heart. She must be so overwhelmed by this kindness that you demonstrated to all of us readers.

  • Phyllis Hofer

    October 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    What a sweet beautiful memory! Congratulations to you all on such a wonderful occasion!

  • Katie Hanson

    October 8, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    What a lovely, evocative piece on your lovely daughter, Rachel. “Receiving” is such a powerful and perfect word for marriage. I never thought of it that way. Words change our thinking. Thank you for sharing this and changing my thinking.

  • Sue Folwell

    October 8, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing such delightful memories, both past and present! I love the concept of “receiving” each other as a gift. How wonderful! Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding!

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