I have just returned from a wonderful week at the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) summer course in Newport, Rhode Island. Every year, the RSCM sponsors several camps in different locations around the country. It’s a week of intensive singing and preparation for services. The Newport course was amazingly successful. With over 100 participants (mostly children – treble voices), the sound was thrilling and finely polished. It was a delight to have some of our own choristers present and participating.

The theme for the Newport course was taken from Psalm 84, How lovely is thy dwelling place. The theme of this text appeared throughout the week in both the psalms and anthems we prepared. One of my favorite lines is found in verse two Yea, the sparrow has found her a house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young. I found myself thinking of what physical locations in my own life provide me with much gladness, relief, and comfort. I came up with a few different possibilities, but the truth is, I couldn’t come up with any place unassociated with certain friends. That is, it wouldn’t be as rewarding to return to some of these particular locations without particular people present. And so, at least to me, the Kingdom of God is not a place I can imagine being in by myself, but rather is a place that I can live in with others. A community of loving individuals to share experiences, thoughts, hopes, disappointments, and all of life with – in essence, a church.