Inspired by the Olympics, last Sunday the postlude at Rainbow Mennonite consisted of Karen Goering Hostetler playing several measures from a number of national anthems: Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, and representing USA, she played “America the Beautiful.” Karen looked for a song that might represent the Refugee Olympic Team, but when that proved to be too difficult, she asked us to remember them as we listened.
“I hope it gives a sense of our connectedness to all nations and our hope for peace in the world,” Karen said.
You can view her 6+minute postlude here:
This coming Sunday we will pick up on this theme of homeland anthems and songs.
In preparation, I invite everyone to create a playlist of your ten most important songs. Currently, The Mennonite is featuring monthly playlists from different individuals across Mennonite Church USA reflecting on their top 10 most important songs. You can see them here: https://themennonite.org/?s=my+top+10+songs
Or consider this: A friend of mine recently collected short stories/reflections (100 words or fewer) about meaningful hymns/songs from childhood. This was a fun, yet challenging exercise. Below is what I came up with. Anybody else want to try?
I have fond memories of my parents leading us in song around the breakfast table. “Each morning brings us fresh out-poured,” they sang energetically while us kids wiped sleep out of our eyes. By the third stanza we were all singing along. I like to think that we unleashed these lovely words and notes into the universe so often in my growing up years, that they have once again found me as an adult. Now I sometimes awake in the early hours of the morning with this song on my heart (Psalm 40:3).
Hymn title: Each morning bring us
Text: Johannes Zwick
Music: Wittenbergisch Gesangbuchli, 1537
And what about at Rainbow? If we as a congregation voted on the ten most important hymns at Rainbow, which hymns would win the gold, silver, and bronze?
Finally, and going back to Karen’s consideration of the Refugee Team, what about those who are cut off from their homeland and the music therein? Furthermore, what sorts of songs speak of the refugee crisis around the world? I think of Psalm 37:1-4 (below). How might this sound put to music?
By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
I look forward to joining in homeland songs of hope and lament this coming Sunday at Rainbow.