“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:11-14
As singers and instrumentalists we have a few gifts that we often take for granted: the gift of vocal cords that vibrate when air moves through them, lungs that fill up without us even thinking about it, rib cages that expand to allow us to get the biggest breath possible for that extra high note in Handel’s Messiah, jaws that drop when we need to create space for that long vowel, tongues that articulate notes and words to our community, fingers that move the perfect combination of keys, hands and arms that strum our joy.
Our job is to proclaim God’s narrative through liturgy: the story of His redeeming love for us. And this weekend we have the privilege of proclaiming one of the greatest moments of God’s love. The angels proclaimed it on that blessed night and now it’s our turn.
One of my favorite Scripture passages for a multitude of reasons is Isaiah 6. Isaiah has a vision where he suddenly enters into heaven. He says,
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
I like to imagine each Sunday that as we sing those words, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty,” seraphim are flying around heaven calling out those words right alongside us. And not just seraphim. The Book of Revelation tells us that thousands of thousands of angels are lifting their voice in praise to God continuously.
This Sunday we bring back the Gloria. As we sing “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill,” think of those angels. Proclaim their message with everything you have in you. Use your gifts: your lungs, your vocal cords, your mouth, your jaw, your tongue, your hands, your feet, your breath… use it all for the glory of God. With every ounce of energy you have, give it all to God this weekend, just like the thousands of thousands of angels do each and every moment in heaven.
A quote I adore from one of my favorite books, Chasing Francis, says: “The veil between this world and the world to come is made thin by melody and lyric. If only for a brief few minutes, we are all believers.”