Bound in Harmony
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. – Colossians 3:14 (NRSV)
Once a month every summer, the church I serve offers a “drop-in choir.” People come early to rehearse a simple anthem, then sing in the service. It’s a great way to include visitors and others who love to sing but can’t make a weekly choir commitment the rest of the year.
I appreciate our Director of Music Bradley Ellingboe’s willingness and ability to organize and teach the ad hoc group to sing in harmony and on the same page—in forty minutes or less. He has lots of experience, he says, because given the schedules of volunteer singers, every Sunday is a “drop-in choir.”
Last month’s group had its usual mix of visitors, one-time singers, and choir members, ranging in age from 20 to 94. Two former members who can no longer sing regularly also joined in. Both have progressive medical conditions that make life, especially singing, difficult.
But neither singer’s physical challenges have diminished their love for music and their joy in singing 4-part harmony with others, a joy that was evident as the choir led the congregation in a hymn from Maui, “Ekolu Mea Nui”(#496 in The New Century Hymnal), and offered Brad’s setting of “I Love to Tell the Story.”Their faces glowed as they sang with the others.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” proclaimed the Letter to the Colossians, “with gratitude in your hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” Filled with joy and gratitude, the whole drop-in choir did just that. No matter their age or situation, they were “clothed in love and bound together in perfect harmony.”
They sounded great, too.
Thank you, God, for your songs and all with whom we sing. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.