Thursday, April 13, 2017

Re-membering Saviour: The Story of God's Passion for His People

First Alliance Church Choir and Orchestra with New West Symphony and Chorus
Directed by David Klob and Humberto Vargas
April 12, 2017 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Last evening was the second of two concerts of the oratorio work, “Saviour: The Story of God’s Passion for His People” by First Alliance Church Choir and Orchestra with the New West Symphony and Chorus. It was one of those events that becomes a lifelong memory, filled with transcendent music and the over-arching themes of God's love, mercy and faithfulness in the face of human rebellion, alienation and sin.

An event like this engages over 140 musicians and technicians coming together to deliver a profound and satisfying project with excellence and joy. The 1,500+ people who listen from the auditorium also enter in, creating a sense of unity and ensemble which I have not yet seen duplicated in any other forum. The lobby remains crowded for a long time after the concert; people lingering, visiting, in no rush to end the evening, communing with friends and sharing our individual impressions and experience from this worship experience.

Another musician on the west coast, singer-songwriter Carolyn Arends, shared a comment on her Facebook page from someone who attended one of her concerts this week, and it echoes what I saw happening for us last night. His feedback was, “Thank you. That was so connecting. I came here scattered - just disconnected from running around doing work and life - and now I'm leaving here integrated again.”

We left as an integrated whole last evening. We were many individuals coming together, and though each one of us had our own voice, our own part, and they were all different – together we were unified in harmony. As Ephesians 4:3 urges, we worked diligently over three months of preparation and during two performances to “keep the harmony of The Spirit in the bonds of peace.”

Ann Voskamp reminds us of a deeper truth that comes when we unite in worship of our Lord: that our “dismembered” and scattered parts are actually “re-membered” and made whole again.

“…all the brokenness in the world begins with the act of forgetting — forgetting that God is enough, forgetting that what He gives is good enough, forgetting that there is always more than enough to give thanks for. “

She goes on to remind us though we forget, though we're prone to chronic soul amnesia, God never forgets us, never abandons us, never gives up on us. He has written us, our very names, on the palm of his hands, written even me right into himself -- though we forget, God re-members us, puts us and the broken bits and members of us back together again.

As an individual, one who is part of a great whole, part of the re-membered body of Christ, part of this ensemble of musicians who lift our limited voices in gratitude and unity to pray:
Dear Lord, Thank you, that "we are re-membered in You --- You who engrave Your love letter to us right into Your skin.... right into Your beating heart. In the name of the only One who ever loved us to death and back to life again... In Jesus' name... Amen.”

Concert Photo Credit: Greg McCombs, used with permission
Scripture Photo Credit: accessed via Ann Voskamp Facebook post

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