Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and Church music because as she was dying she sang to God. Today is her Feast day. She is a Martyr of the church who was said to have died a pretty terrible death. According to scribes at Wikipedia
“the officials attempted to kill her by boiling her alive. However, the attempt failed, and she was to be beheaded. The executioner attempted to decapitate her three times unsuccessfully, at which time he fled. Cecilia survived another three days before succumbing. In the last three days of her life, she opened her eyes, gazed at her family and friends who crowded around her cell, closed them, and never opened them again. The people by her cell knew immediately that she was to become a saint in heaven.”
Why she would be singing is a mystery – it is a testimony to why she is a saint.
As a part of my daily prayers today I prayed in thanksgiving for Cecilia and all others who gift us with music, both secular and sacred. When we sing something special happens. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra said “He who sings scares away his woes.” This year I have discovered this to be true. In September I joined the Valleyview Male Chorus. Under the direction of Henry Boldt and Kim Nikkel, this group of nearly 50 men has given me a place to scare away my woes. Gathering once a week with these folks, working hard each week to get the pieces right, I have experienced incredible joy and peace. I have never been in a choir and I had no idea what I was missing. I am quite the novice in this group, but they all are so supportive. We performed last week in Nairn. It was a real high to finally step forward as a group and showcase what we have been working on. It is a vulnerable, and yet, a peaceful experience. I am looking forward to our next performance – we will be at Valleyview Mennonite Church on Dec 11 for a Carol Service in the Evening.
Founder of The Talking Heads David Byrne wrote in his book How Music Works
“In the early days, I might have gotten on stage and begun to sing as a desperate attempt to communicate, but now I found that singing was both a physical and emotional joy. It was sensuous, a pure pleasure, which didn’t take away from the emotions being expressed—even if they were melancholic. Music can do that; you can enjoy singing about something sad.”
I have come to understand this… and it is helpful in scaring away my woes!
Gracious God, whose servant Cecilia served you in song: Grant us to join her hymn of praise to you in the face of all adversity, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.