Sunday morning came bright and early with our last programs in view. I say bright and early because my Sunday mornings typically don't start by meeting somewhere at 7:15, but this one did. When we saw a different bus roll into the church, we were rather astounded! It seemed that in reparation for a few A/C problems on the previous bus, the rental company gifted us with a brand new ride!
Our first destination was Lansdale, PA where we would sing as a guest choir at Trinity Lutheran Church. They selected a few of our pieces that fit into their liturgy for the morning, and we shared with them in two different services. Thank you to Trinity Lutheran for being very welcoming. We were privileged to share the service with them and bring music of peace to the beautiful sanctuary! Following our time there, we sped over to Landsdale Mennonite Church where we were able to sing a couple songs for the congregation before joining in their fellowship meal.
Before arriving at Fourth United Methodist Church in York, PA for our last program, we stopped at Cousler Park. The expansive park provided space to throw some frisbee, lie in the sun, and listen to the water fountain in the pond. After finding a pavilion in which to talk and eat, we gathered around to reflect on the week and it's impact on our lives. It was fantastic to hear from everyone and see God's work in various ways through people and through the music. God touched each person in a different way and it was a privilege to hear the various testimonies.
Following our time of sharing, we dug into an elaborate spread of cheese, meat, vegetables, crackers, hummus, pesto, et al. Sadly, our time at the park was almost through so we made quick work of the food.
The final program at Fourth United Methodist Church (York, PA) was bittersweet. It is sweet to be singing with friends, worshipping with many brothers and sisters, and to have experienced the music together for days. It's bitter to know it's the last time and that this particular configuration of the Laudate Mennonite Ensemble is reaching its conclusion. Amidst the last chords of Lay Me Low, Swing Down Chariot, Do Not Be Afraid, Baba Yetu, and many others, our hearts were grateful for the time spent on this tour.
After saying goodbyes to a few who left straight from York, those of us remaining on the bus made a quick ice cream stop to celebrate the conclusion of our time.
After all, the need to preserve the voice for the next program or rehearsal or recording was gone. Again, bittersweet. It's hard to know how to wrap up a short-term experience like Laudate. We say goodbyes, we eat some ice cream, we shed a few tears. But the goal is not to leave it behind. It is to allow the experiences to shape our lives going forward. It is to learn to love the God who is worthy of praise, and to be more accepting of the peace that he gives through his Son. I'm excited to think about what God did and can still do through the music and relationships on Laudate 2018. That is in his hands and is beyond what we ask or think. We praise Him for what he did and will still do.