Word from the Center Digest: Friday, October 18, 2019
Singing Truth and Grace into the World
by Peter Scaer
Not long ago, a goodly group of seminary students, their wives and children gathered outside Planned Parenthood as part of the 40 Days for Life. I’ve done this sort of thing in the past. Sometimes, it was just me and maybe a couple of others. When I first started, I stood and prayed. Then I thought to bring a Bible, and to read it, so as to mark the time while standing vigil. Then I wrote a litany, and we sang a hymn or two. Last year, a student took charge, and we upped our game. More singing. More Scripture.
And this year we made it even better. We did an entire Vespers service . . . with psalms, hymns and readings. When that was finished, I gave the group a little bit of history about abortion and the life movement in our area. And then came hymns and more hymns. Some easier to sing, many more difficult. Ah, but it was beautiful. I saw any number of student wives who sang the hymns, the harder ones, from memory. Some have participated in this sort of thing for many years and say they have heard nothing like it.
And I think it’s instructive. Silent no more. That’s the motto for women who have had abortions and have been ashamed to say so. I think that this may apply more broadly. The Word of God spoken out loud has a powerful effect, inspiring the faithful, catching the ear of those who have never heard and driving away the demons of those who would destroy life. Adding the songs of the liturgy and the hymns proved more powerful still. Mary sang at the conception of her child, and Zechariah sang at the birth of his. Singing is powerful. Singing the truth of the Lord, the Gospel of Christ Jesus, in all its fullness and splendor is to taste heaven and drive away hell. In singing, we ourselves are strengthened, but so also do we attract a world that knows no beauty, no grace, no charity or light.
Yes, as a church, it’s high time we take our word out to the streets, out to sidewalk. And let that word be accompanied by, be carried by the great music of the Church, the Song of the Lamb that has no end. Don’t run from the liturgy, but to it. Don’t give up the great hymns; learn them, sing them. You need them, and so does the world.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” What does that mean? Click here to learn more from the Heritage Foundation.
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