Ear Worm Spiritual Formation
This is Billy’s first year in children’s choir and so over the past week we’ve gotten our first taste of an experience with which many of you are well acquainted. We’ve had the CD of all the songs they’ll be learning this fall on loop in the car, and I can’t get them out of my head.
Who built the ark?
Who built the ark?
Brother Noah built the ark!
Audrey and I have both been singing them incessantly around the house, most of the time without even knowing it.
I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Good Shepherd,
And the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
I’m told these sorts of songs are called “ear worms,” I suppose because the get down into your ears and you can’t them out. This is certainly how it feels right now in the Dickison household.
But the magical thing we’ve observed is how Billy can’t get them out of his head either. And he doesn’t seem to mind at all.
In fact, he had the Noah song memorized by the time we made it home from church with the CD, and the others within a day or two. He sings them around the house even more than we, and smiled from ear to ear when he walked into Amy Alderman’s classroom for the first time and heard the CD playing in the room. It was as if he had been invited into a world that was waiting for him, and for which he had been preparing without even knowing it.
He and his classmates are learning something important about church—many things, in fact. They’re learning the power of being invited into a place and a people that are waiting to receive you with love.
They’re learning the comfort and power of having a shared language.
And they’re even learning, though they surely don’t realize it yet and it may not be perceptible for sometime, that they’re being shaped by this world and it’s language. It’s songs and it’s melodies, but even more it’s promises.
This is such an important part of what we do as a church: we form each other in the faith. This formation happens in small ways over time, the way moving water slowly molds rock. We’re formed by the songs we sing and the prayers we lift. The Scriptures we read and where we read them; who we read them with. All of these things, and so many other movements, practices and habits of the church, form and re-form us into something we hope resembles who we’re created to be, which is the image of Christ here on earth.
And thus the Christian faith, with all it's richness of song and word and rhythm and deed--all it's promises of who God is and who we're called to be--all of it is passed down from one generation to the next.
One ear-worm at a time.