Why do we sing?

The Steel Wheels

The Steel Wheels

On Saturday night, our inquisitiveness took My Joy and the Old Fool to Goshen College’s Umble Center to savor the sounds of the Steel Wheels band. Connectedness also drew us since Trent Wagler and Angela Link Stoltzfus, my granddaughter-in-law, are first cousins.  Click  here to get a taste of this bluegrass mountain music. Near the end of the program Trent asked a rhetorical question:  Why do we sing? IMG_1023

On Sunday afternoon My Joy and I enjoyed another musical genre. We went to the AMBS Sermon on the Mount Chapel to hear the St. Joseph Valley Camerata do a concert on British music through the ages. The Old Fool is not so musically literate that he can fully enjoy either Steel Wheels or the Camerata, so he echoes Trent’s question, Why do they sing, and why do we want to hear them? doubt

The events of Holy Week dominated recent posts on the website and sharpened the Old Fool’s inquisitiveness, curiosity and doubt. Why does the church spend so much capital observing what appeared on Palm Sunday to be a failed coup?   Why do we  sadistically follow the trek of Jesus from courtroom to the cross on Good Friday? How can we accept the gruesome portrayal of the God of love as an abusive parent?  Why permit the seeming failure of death to cast its shadow over us on Tenebrae?

What is the real meaning of Resurrection? BrunkIt may be that we are drawn to these events because of their beauty, the awe they inspire in us, and the memories they rouse. Something about them pleases us, but the larger question is, do Holy Week activities please the God of heaven and earth? What would Isaiah say of them?  Or Amos? Or Hosea?  Or Jesus?  If God had a prophet today perhaps he would say sadly, “I’m so tired of your holy week celebrations, I wish you all would do what Jesus did.”

Phil Waite

Phil Waite

I’m glad that we listened to Phil Waite’s sermon on the car’s radio on the way to South Bend on Easter Sunday.  Unfortunately, the video is not available. To know the goal for this series you may read the pastor’s column in that weeks newsletter.  (Scroll down to find the column.)   The pastor hopes the College Mennonite Church can model a discussion that will be followed by this dividing Mennonite Church USA.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
This entry was posted in Biblical Interpretation, Church, Faith, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why do we sing?

  1. Ned Kauffman says:

    Hi Martin,
    Please allow me to expand your view of singing. I’d like to hear the lyrics that Steel Wheels would spin for the sake of ECOLOGY. College Mennonite Church’s Creation Care Advocates are ¾ of the way through “Every Creature Singing,” a 3 month long pilot curriculum from Mennonite Creation Care Network. If we could get the broader church tuned into every creature singing it would in turn become one massive ecological choir, ALL IS CONNECTED.
    Oh Great Spirit, help the human animal understand (two finches just landed on a wire in the sunlight just outside the window) the mutual care for All that your energy has created.

    Best regards,
    Ned Kauffman

    • Ned, I like your comment. In our back yard we have been surprised by visits of Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Baltimore Oriole. I don’t want to disparage the work of our musicians and artists. But I somehow wish for more energy in an artistic portrayal of the awe of spiritual unity of the church and universe that Jesus prays for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.