Friday, January 29, 2016

The Chief Musician

     Ask him to sing. 

     There aren’t many that do anymore. Most often it’s the dying 

that request hymns during his hospice rounds. Bill Colle is a great 

comfort to families and those on the verge of paradise. But it's a 

shame that his songs are only heard in dimmed rooms, because my 

dad is still anointed and still able to fill a church with his rich bass.

     A house filled with music and singing is how I remember it. 

Album covers stacked in piles and the careful drop of a needle on 

vinyl. Musicals, opera, the Bison Glee Club, or The Centurymen’s 

latest played regularly.

     Every time I hear “Eternal Life,” I think of my dad. Especially

the prayer at the end because he has not only sung this prayer, he 

has lived it.

Oh divine master grant

That I may not so much seek

To be consoled, as to console.

To be understood, as to understand.

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving, that we receive.

It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.

It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.

     He gave up a full ride at Louisiana State University as a drum 

major to pursue God’s call at Oklahoma Baptist University in 

Okmulgee, Okla. During those four years, he ministered music at 

every church that allowed him to sing. He did finally make it to 

Louisiana. He completed seminary there and wore the pink 

master's stole for musicians while already a husband and father.

     Valdosta, Ga., Palatka, Fla., Chamblee, Ga., Alief and LaPorte, 

Texas, and finally Titusville, Fla. God called and called and called 

and we moved and moved and moved. And there was always 

music. The miles traveled all over the southeast marked a 

wonderful career behind the pulpit as the chief musician before 

retiring at the age of 62.

     No matter where we called home, he made sure that we always 

knew where we would spend eternity. That there, too, would be 

music. That’s why every time I hear “Eternal Life,” which he 

recorded on an album of his own, I am reminded of my father’s 

great legacy. And I’m puzzled why no one asks him to sing 

anymore beyond the four walls of home where my mom sends him 

to the piano to sing for her.

     Ask him to sing. God gave him a beautiful instrument that at 78 

still draws me to a peaceful place, that encourages me to give more 

than I receive, and to be a light in the darkness.

Happy Birthday to the Chief Musician in my life. Next time I’m 

home, let’s sing.

From the hymns that my daddy sang, I know I was made to glorify your name.”
Toby Mac ‘Undeniable’