What a wonderful time I had Christmas caroling this Sunday afternoon! My church families gathered together in the church parking lot and warmed our voices up by singing a couple of Christmas carols. We then started caroling by visiting our homebound members or sick members. Every year we repeat singing Christmas carols, which bring joy to listeners as well as carolers.
There was a community choir in our town long time ago. It was reshaped several months ago. It is a quite serious group about singing. Those who love to sing gathered Sunday afternoon and sang hymns together. The group decided to participate in Christmas Tree lighting in Downtown this year. They practiced every Sunday afternoon. I tried to go to visit, but every time, I failed. Finally, I went to a community choir practice a month ago! The first performance of the Community Choir was held in downtown on the first Saturday of the month. I couldn’t be there for singing, but I was there to help with clean-up. When we brought the folding shades and chairs and music boxes to the car, a couple of people thanked the choir members for the singing Christmas carols because that reminded them to think about the meaning of Christmas.
The book of Isaiah is one of books in the Bible. Isaiah was a prophet and he prophesied Jesus’s birth. The book of Isaiah was not written in prose, it was written in poetry within 66 chapters or songs, which means the whole book is music! The poetry from the book of Isaiah demonstrates the power of music and singing.
Something powerful happens when we raise our voices together, even for those who participate by listening. Song is created by breath and by vibrating sound waves; the music literally passes from one body to another, resonating within each person.
Part of what makes music effective is the way it uses a pattern of repetition and surprise. Perhaps you can think of ways the season of Advent and even the whole Christian story also uses elements of repetition and surprise? And music often relies on a refrain— a memorable phrase and melody that occurs over and over again, usually at the end of a verse.
What will be our refrain this season of anticipation? What is the melody we want to sing out to the world over and over again? It might sound a little different depending on our community- its people and its style — but each refrain will tell of a radical love. That love creates more love. We have the power to create more love in the world just by being loving. It is contagious.
When we “repeat the sounding joy,” we affect the world around us, spreading the good news and crowding out the hateful stuff. More love equals more joy! Glory to God!
By Pastor Eun-Joo Myung, Patterson Federated Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.