Guest post by composers Lee & Susan Dengler introducing Restore Our Song: A Resource for Restarting Your Choir, which includes an opening “kick-off” fellowship and service, devotions on the themes of deliverance and renewal, easy anthem suggestions to get the choir back in shape quickly, service ideas including a hymn sing, recruitment tips, a simple chorus for choir and congregation titled “Restore Our Song,” and more.
Finally, they were on their way! After years of exile in Babylon, God’s people were returning to Judah. Though some had decided to remain in Babylon, a contingent, led by the priest and scribe, Ezra, began the journey home. To them, Babylon was still a land where they simply could not sing the Lord’s song, even when coaxed by their captors. All they had been able to do was to hang their harps, the instruments that had once accompanied their voices, on the willow trees that stood guard by the river. The drooping branches of the trees had served as a visual reminder of their own weeping.
And then, they were home in their beloved native land! In the second chapter of the book of Ezra, we find the listing of folks who returned to Jerusalem and other Judean towns. There were the priests, the temple servants, the gatekeepers of the temple. And, there were the singers!
As the foundations of the new temple were laid, the singers began their song, as they praised and gave thanks to the Lord. For those who listened, there was a mixture of emotions. While some shouted for joy, others, who had remembered the former temple and all they had endured, wept with a loud voice. It was hard to distinguish the shouts of joy from the noise of their crying. Nevertheless, the combined sound of joyous shouts, sorrowful weeping and glorious singing could be heard for miles around.
We have thought about these people many times during the months of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after we learned that singing in groups had the ability to spread the virus more virulently than almost anything else. How could we sing the Lord’s song in such a land? But now, it seems that we too are on our way home. Almost daily, we learn of positive indicators that tell us that choirs can safely return to in-person, close-up, full-choir singing. Thanks be to God! This is the news for which we have been waiting over these past, long months!
more “Restore Our Song: A Homecoming”