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Lenten Devotion, Apr. 5

God SO loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

This plaque hangs above the door into the organ loft from the Nicki Hanson Music Room to remind us all of the importance of our musical efforts touching the souls of those worshiping. The rehearsal room is named for Nicki Hanson who with her husband, George and family, were long-time members here with Nicki leading and singing in various choirs and playing piano, trombone, and organ. As a student, she was the student director working with the director of the famed St. Olaf Choir, a position that many aspire to, but few receive. Nicki had a tremendous musical ability, it literally seeped from her finger tips. She was a petite lady who in front of the choir became a dynamic colossal, quite a remarkable transformation. Within a few years of my arrival, she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in her 50s. We all gradually watched as she tragically descended into darkness. Still before she died in 2002, while there was very little that her brain was able to do, she could still harmonize perfectly on pitch when she heard singing; music was so deeply embedded in her brain. She gave so much musical commitment to Central over the years that we were honored to put her name on the Music Room. As Luther said, Next to the Word, music is the greatest gift from God. For as God SO loved the world that he gave us his Son, we, as Nicki did, always try to bring our best efforts to God in making our music touch and nourish people's souls.

Dear God. We thank you for your Word and the visual and musical arts which allow us to express and witness the majesty and beauty of your love for us. May we treasure this great gift from you and may we share it with all and with love as you have loved us and have shared your son. Amen.

Andrew ElRay Stewart-Cook


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