My grandfather was many things: a farmer, a teacher, a passionate Yankees fan, a tradition keeper, a powerful story teller, and he was a joyful singer. I have so many wonderful memories of him singing: on the tractor while he worked, sitting in the living room singing and laughing till he cried, and his voice echoing in the amazing acoustics of our little white country church. “O come, come, come come, come to the church in the wildwood..” still brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Granddad sang hymns while he worked the farm, and the sound echoing around the farm like the easiest game of Marco Polo, reassured me all was right with the world. I had no idea he was teaching me theology too.
I have heard it said, and it rings true to me, that the Methodist movement grew in part because of John Wesley’s sermons but even more because of his brother Charles’ hymns. He wrote more than 6000 hymns that praised God and articulated the theology his brother was preaching. He supposedly sometimes used the tunes he heard in the pubs to make the songs singable, familiar, and gave them new meaning and purpose.
There is power in music to soothe, mold, comfort, and teach. Throughout history, music has drawn us together, inspired us to act, and led us to work for peace and justice. Consider the power of “We Shall Overcome,” “Let there be Peace on Earth,” or “Draw the Circle Wide.” Or, what about “Imagine,” “We Are the World,” or “Happy.” Songs can mobilize us to get up, stand up, and do God’s work.
This Sunday, we’ll hear and experience God’s word in song. We’ll share Psalm 146, and explore together, the songs that bring us into the presence of God, help us to pray, fill us with hope. We’ll ask one another what songs we might offer to those who feel lost in a foreign land. I call it a dialogue sermon offered in song. You might call it a hymn sing!
Come on Sunday, and sing! Join us at 8:30 in our outdoor chapel (weather permitting), or inside at 10am.
I’ll see you on Sunday,