This last weekend was intense and wonderful!
I attended the Community of Christ annual Peace Colloquy…which this year included the launch of the new denominational hymnal, Community of Christ Sings. And we sang!
The Peace Award was given to Reverend John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland. You may be wondering what a hymn writer has to do with peace and justice issues…a lot! For one thing, we sing what we believe, and singing about peace and justice reminds us that that is part of our calling. Singing those sings remind us of issues that we would sometimes prefer to remain hidden–and this hymnal at times is very pointed about those issues…domestic violence, cruelty toward those who do not believe like we do, poverty, injustice, those dealing with addictions, those in prison…
In his presentations, Rev. Bell also used scripture that we would sometimes prefer to ignore to challenge us to live out what we say we believe.
We heard a wonderful concert by Emma’s Revolution, two women (with keyboard and percussion) who sing songs of justice and peacemaking. One of their songs that we had learned to love was “Peace, Salaam, Shalom”…written after 9/11. (It’s in the new hymnal.) We heard other songs of peace and justice…and while we may not agree with everything they sing, they are not afraid to take a stand for what they believe is right.
We shared in so many class/discussion sessions…of course, many of them including singing. SInging through the hymnal…singing on specific topics…singing old favorites and learning new songs that will become favorites.
We shared in worship…worship filled with music of all kinds–organ, vocal, small instrumental groups, drumming, piano, guitar–filled with wonderful messages of challenge to let this book move us forward into areas where we believe God is calling us.
And we sang!
The Psalmist several times called his people to sing a new song. Why? Because when we sing, what we sing gets deep into our souls. We remember it…we are more likely to live it.
And so…sing a new song!
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
Praise the Lord!