I thought I would post here the "about our mission" section of our program. It tells a little of what we hope to accomplish while we are away, at least for the people we encounter. There are, of course, other purposes I will share with you as the week unfolds!
Many church youth choirs go on a tour of some sort during the summer. Most of them determine what city they’d like to visit and call churches in the area to set up concerts. The churches agree to host the choir because they know that next summer their youth choir will be looking for places to sing. The choir travels, sings for a handful of people at the church, and has a generally good time.
We have much in common with those choirs. We decide what city we’d like to visit, and we have a good time. But we choose not just to sing in churches. They already have choirs! We choose instead to sing in children’s homes, hospices, and assisted living facilities. In short, we choose to sing for you. Not because you have a choir that will need a place to sing next summer. Not because you’ll provide a place for us to stay overnight. We choose to sing for you because we believe God loves you, and we can share God’s love with you.
Our concert this year is entitled “Give Thanks.” That might seem strange as you hear the texts we are singing and read the translations. Jesus walked this lonesome valley? We must walk this lonesome valley? Are we to be thankful for loneliness and struggle? Was Daniel to be thankful for being tossed in the den of lions? The Hebrew children in the furnace? Are we to be thankful at those times we feel our hearts wandering from the fold of God?
“My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation. I hear the clear though far-off hymn that hails a new creation. No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging. Since love commands both heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?” No, we are not called to be thankful for our suffering. But as Christians, we can nevertheless be thankful in our suffering. The peace of Christ makes fresh our souls, a fountain ever springing. How can we keep from singing?
For that comfort in our hour of greatest need, for the steadfast love of God, we give both thanks and praise. We seek to share something of that love and comfort with you when we sing for you, share our stories with you, and listen to your stories.
It is our hope and our prayer that today we will inspire you to a spirit of thankfulness and praise—that you will join us in spirit and perhaps even in song. And as we leave today, know that we are thankful for you. For your listening, for your sharing, for your smiling, we “raise our joyful hymn of praise.”