Singing for Joy

2 Feb

“Angels Singing,” by Hubert and Jan van Eyck (from the Ghent alterpiece at the Cathedral of St. Bavon), 1427-29.

Something wonderful happened in January.  After very competitive auditions, I made it into my church’s choir.  Now this choir is renowned throughout the country/world, so joining amounts to something very special.  Only I didn’t think of this when I auditioned. 

 I auditioned, truly, because I thought the Lord was prompting me to do so.  From about October to December of 2009 strangers repeatedly came up to me and told me that I  should be in a choir; wanted to know why I wasn’t singing somewhere.  Though I sing to myself all the time and everywhere, this sort of thing never happens to me.  So I began to wonder.  I wondered, “Is God trying to tell me something?”  

 On Christmas Eve, while I was in a Christian bookstore, a stranger-lady in front of me on the check-out line turned around and asked out of nowhere, “What choir are you in?”  I chuckled to myself and said, “None.  But I’ve been wondering lately if I should try out.”  Well, she proceeded to declare to me that I Absolutely Must join my church choir.  So, later that night I said, “OK, Lord.  I’ll audition.”  I thought, since it was Christmas and since the choir had just debuted their latest album a few weeks prior to my decision, that I had months and months before any compliance would be required of me.  Wrong.  Three days later it was announced in church that sign-ups were taking place for choir auditions, which were being held the 2nd Sunday of January.  The end result is that within three weeks of saying, “OK, Lord,” I was in the choir. 

 Despite saying I would, I didn’t think I’d really audition when auditions came around.  Then, as I was auditioning, I didn’t think I’d make it.  Then after I’d made it, I didn’t think the choir would be different from any other ministry in the church.  Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. 

 I was elated to make the choir.  And, unlike with other ministries where I have served, in the days after making the choir, my entire world of friends and relations joined me in celebrating.  I was stopped as I went about my way and heartily congratulated.  People I have known for 10 years or more at church and who remembered better than me my desire to sing, hugged me and said, “Finally!  I’m so happy for you!”  I was called on the phone and texted congratulations.  I felt not only my own satisfaction and wonder at God’s grace, but the satisfaction and love of my entire community. 

 And this is why making the choir is relevant to longing singles everywhere:  it has made me a living witness to joy.  At this stage of my life I didn’t think that there could be joy, communal joy like this, in the absence of a diamond ring on the third finger of my left hand or without holding in my arms my very own little bundle of life.  But I was wrong.  There is joy, surprising, indomitable, JOY to be stumbled upon in the ordinariness of living, and living by faith.  There is joy.

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