Congregations in the Calvinist branch of the church make a fuss over the
installation of a pastor for a few reasons. Like most people, we like to
party. Aside from that, we recognize the authority of the Classis within the congregation, and
the leadership of the person who is called to preach and teach. The
installation is also the formation of a covenant between the people in the
congregation and the servant God has sent them. We make solemn promises
before God for each other's benefit, promises more binding than a legal
In the early summer of 1992, James and I were installed
as co-pastors of the Grahamsville Reformed Church, where we would end up
spending five years of our lives. At our installation we presented the
congregation with the gift of this tune and its accompanying text by James.
The inspiration for its name, Grahamsville Steeple, comes from artist Bob McLean's
illustration of the steeple with its weathervane on the church building.
He commented that the steeple's weathervane spun in the wind, sensitive to its
movement, just as the church should be sensitive to the blowing of the Holy
Spirit, and move where the Spirit would have it go. With the odd
displacement of the half note/quarter note rhythm with its inverse, a quarter
note/half note, I hope to illustrate that this movement of the Spirit is not
always what we would expect, or even prefer if we were to choose for ourselves.
Yet, the creator knows better than we what is best, and it may turn out that we
benefit from experiences we would not have picked.