In midst of chaos and pain, music sometimes says it best


Reggie ponder lifestyles chowan herald


By Reggie Ponder

Friday, June 14, 2019

I got a chance to go to the Step of Faith concert at First Baptist Church in Elizabeth City on May 31 and I’m glad I did.

We didn’t get advance tickets because I wasn’t sure I would finish work early enough that afternoon to be able to make it.

But it turns out I finished in plenty of time — actually just in the nick of time but that’s still OK — and there were still spaghetti plates and concert tickets left when we got to the church.

The supper was nice and then we headed over to the sanctuary and waited for the singing to start.

I had heard Step of Faith before but every time is a new experience. On this particular night they did a few traditional Southern Gospel favorites at the outset but quickly shifted to contemporary worship music and tended to stay in that vein throughout the evening.

It couldn’t have been better, at least not for that crowd in that place on that night.

Just hours earlier a gunman had opened fire on co-workers at the municipal center in Virginia Beach, Va., and we were carrying that in our hearts at that time.

The music was a healing force in the midst of that sadness and shock.

Later that night I heard from Mark, my best friend from high school, who assured me he was OK. I was relieved.

He works for the city Virginia Beach but was not in the building at the time of the shooting. It was still a painful experience for him because respected and beloved co-workers were killed and injured, but he himself had not been caught up in the chaos.

The music that night at the church, and the heartfelt prayer by the church’s pastor at the beginning of the program, did not of course make the horror of the shooting disappear.

But music and prayer have their own way of bringing healing in the midst of misery.

It had been a long time since I had spent so much time all at once listening to that kind of worship music and worshiping with friends and family without being distracted by anything else.

I appreciate First Baptist Church hosting the event and enjoyed hearing the First Baptist choir at the beginning of the program.

I enjoyed hearing the beautiful music by Barry, Darryl and all the gifted musicians who joined them for a special evening of praise.

And I appreciate who Barry and Darryl are. Our community is blessed to have them living here and active in ministry here.

Like I said, I’m glad I was there that night. It was just what I needed.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.