There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot…
If the writer of this well-known passage was living amongst us now, he might well have included, “a time to sing and a time to social distance.”
Choirs are taking a devastating hit during this pandemic, causing grief amongst singers the world over, including our own faithful choir members. It feels as if we are in exile.
You may have seen “virtual” choir productions on YouTube. For those with the wherewithal, it can be one way to keep afloat, but it cannot measure up to real time, physically present, communal singing. (And it is harder than it looks!)
In their Gospel accounts, both Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn just hours prior to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. They would have sung the Hallel (praise) Psalms 113-118. No doubt these were deeply embedded in their hearts and minds and sung to chants whose ancient and timeless melodies still inhabit our praises. There was no social distancing, no ear buds, no click tracks, no microphones, no mixing board, not even video - just voices lifted together in a communal sacrificial act of worship.
Authentic choral singing relies on the group dynamic of physical togetherness. Isn’t this what God desires for us – being together in community? No wonder church choirs have long played an integral role in worship!
This I know: God is in control. We will have our choir back together in His good time. And perhaps we will come out of this even stronger than before, singing with even more passion and conviction for the glory of God and the edification of his people.
Love and Peace,