“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” (Leonard Bernstein)
With last Sunday's awful news of the worst mass killing in American history saddening our hearts, my wife and I joined others in St. Paul’s Adult Masterworks Chorus in King George to rehearse the beautiful St. Cecelia Mass by Gounod. As we lined up to process into the sanctuary, I noticed this quote by Bernstein on a bulletin board. It struck me as a poignant reminder of eternal love, encouraging hope, and transforming faith.
In the shadow of hate, we can choose to sing the music of love. The killer was filled with hate and expressed it in an unspeakably horrible act of violence. Christians believe in the God who is love. We follow His Son’s example in “living a life filled with love” (Ephesians 5:2). There is no room for hate toward anyone. Love should guide our actions in relationship to every human being. God loves everyone—so should we.
In the valley of despair, we can choose to sing the music of hope. Recurring news of a killer attacking with an assault rifle has inclined some people to expect more of the same. Christians believe God has a plan—to bring heaven to earth in the return and reign of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We never lose hope because we believe “the future is as bright as the promises of God.”
In the downward spiral of cynicism, we can choose to sing the music of faith. Skeptics and pessimists view current events as a preview of terrorist acts making bloody headlines. Christians believe that one day, in God’s time, unsettled nations will be united under the sovereign rule of the Messiah. Christ is our peace in pandemonium, our calm in chaos, our courage in a dangerous world, and our confidence that at the end of life’s little day all will be well. We refuse to give in to total cynicism, despite the many signs that planet earth is the insane asylum of the solar system—because we believe the new Jerusalem will be deathless, painless, sinless, and tearless.
“My life goes on in endless song above earth’s lamentations; I hear the real, though far off, hymn, that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear its music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?”
Whatever happens in this crazy world, may God’s grace enable us to keep joyful music in our life—with intense love, beautiful hope, and devoted faith— until that glorious day we join the chorus of millions of the redeemed singing praises to the Prince of Peace.
Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church - Friends on a Journey of Faith
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized
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