Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.
While considering today’s passage, I ran across a director’s “column” in an Oklahoma church choir newsletter (“The OK Chorale”) that might help us better understand today’s scene.
“The Director’s Stand” – G. Sharpe
Director’s Note: Remember to practice our secular musical selections for our Concert on the Lawn this coming Memorial Day weekend to kick-off our summer sermon series on “Who’s Who in the Bible.” Links are in the midst of this week’s newsletter.
This Sunday we’ll be performing that classic African-American Spiritual, “Who’ll be a Witness for my Lord?”
Noah – “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head”
Some spirituals offered heartfelt prayers, some were pleas for God’s deliverance from slavery, while others were coded messages for escaping slaves: “Steal Away Jesus” was sung when the coast was clear, “Wade in the Water” provided instructions to travel via streams & rivers to avoid detection, & “Follow the Drinking Gourd” was a figurative map referencing the Big Dipper constellation which pointed to the North Star & freedom.
Daniel – “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
Today’s spiritual, though, is of a different genre. It cites a series of Biblical witnesses from Methuselah to Samson to Daniel testifying to the story of God. It then asks the haunting question for followers then & now, “Who’ll be a witness?”
Methuselah – “Stayin’ Alive”
The idea of being a witness can be very intimidating. Perhaps we are making it too hard. What if we try to think of witnessing just as ordinary people chatting about God & faith in the midst of their everyday lives? Like the story of the demon-healed man in Mark 5:18-20, we are called to use our personal salvation story to spread the news of God’s deliverance for all His children. This man, whose name is known only to God, becomes one of the first evangelists to the Gentile world & each one of us 2,000 years later benefits from his willingness to share his story of healing & hope.
Adam & Eve – Strangers in Paradise
As theologian W. Derek Suderman writes, “Christian scripture can exist without us, but it cannot function as scripture without a people attentive to its witness & seeking to embody its call.” May each of us feel such call by the concluding stanza & realize that “My soul will be a witness for my Lord.” Sopranos are on for the treats. See you on Sunday!
Shadrach Meshach Abednego – “Great Balls of Fire”
Closing Note: Some in our congregation have inquired about the story behind my name. My father, also a church choir director, named me Geoff Sharpe to commemorate my birth story. Mom & Dad were rushing to the hospital when the station wagon had a flat tire. Paramedics were quickly on the scene to safely deliver me on the tailgate. So Dad always called me G. Sharpe to remember that we had A Flat. (Of course, you music aficionados already realize they are the same note.)
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.