One of the things that have impressed me with Faith Lutheran congregation since I’ve been here, is that people like to sing. Whether it's the hymns, the liturgy, or the choir, members enjoy lifting up their voices in song to God. Music and singing have been a central part of our Lutheran identity. I heard in a seminary class years ago that singing was the way Lutherans express our spirituality. A fact that supports that statement is that in my lifetime as a Lutheran, we are in our 4th worship and hymn books.
The Sunday gospel readings from Luke this year narrating the birth of Jesus are filled with 3 songs in just the first chapter:
First, there is Mary’s Song of Praise, which she sings in response to God choosing her to bear His son.
My Soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant...
Then there is the Song of Zechariah, who sings when he learns that his wife will bear a son (John the Baptist).
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David…
Of course, the angels’ song to the shepherds watching their flocks by night:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace, goodwill among people.
Even into the 2nd chapter of Luke, the elder Simeon breaks forth into a song when he sees the young boy Jesus in the Temple
Lord, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.
Know that when we gather together and sing to God, we are swept into God’s divine activity to save and redeem the world. A few voices drawn together in song in northeast Pennsylvania may seem like a small thing in the face of our worries and the state of the world but no smaller than those voices joined in the Judean hill country twenty centuries ago. Our God, scripture teaches us, delights in taking what is small and insignificant in the eyes of the world to do extraordinary and unexpected things. So, let us continue to lift up our voices and sing.
Together in Christ,
Pastor Peter Kuritz