NOTEworthy: May 24

Let my Love be Heard

Jake Runestad

This is your warning: this piece may make you cry.

This week’s musical offering is powerful both because of the piece itself, and also because of the story behind this particular recording. The video says it best, but to paraphrase, a member of the featured university choir tragically died in the 2015 Paris terrorist bombing. Shaken and mourning, the choir was not ready to move on. At their next rehearsal together, they were given the sheet music to this piece as a way to honor their friend and to grieve her loss. This recording was made in that rehearsal.

I know that people read this column for different reasons, and maybe you wanted something to lift you up today. If that is you today, I’m sorry to have missed the mark. However, I find myself with a strong instinct to mourn this week. Our day-to-day lives are still being interrupted, anxiety levels are still running high, and even though the world is starting to see glimmers of that light at the end of the tunnel….boy, am I getting tired of the tunnel.

In the face of unsureness and tragedy this choir chose to make music. Our experience with the Coronavirus is different than theirs, and I do not mean to equate the two. However, we are allowed to acknowledge that in many ways we, too, are mourning – mourning the plans we made that were cancelled, the people we do not get to see and hug, the security we took for granted. In this mourning, this anxiety, this differentness – let’s follow this choir’s lead and choose to paint, choose to cook, choose to sing. If we are made in the image of God then we, like him, are inherently creators. In Genesis, God makes man from dust, demonstrating that it is not the raw materials of your situation that define your work, but the breath of life you give to it. Things are already different, so why not make the difference good?

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

As I was deciding on an appropriate piece to share this week, the short motif, “Let my Love be Heard” kept echoing through my head. To tell you the truth, I wrestled with sharing this piece, because surely there were more positive, reassuring lyrics that I could find, but that little phrase wouldn’t go away – “Let my Love be Heard.”

It wouldn’t go away, I think, because it is so important to let our Love be heard in these times of social separation. As the physical distance between us stays safely wider than normal, it becomes easier and easier to show a love measured by proximity – Out of sight, out of mind. So this is more of a call than a reassurance – let your love be heard, felt, and seen even now, as it cannot be so easily touched. Reach out to those who may be feeling this distance in a deeper way than others, and keep close those trapped in the same house with us. As the four walls around you start to feel more and more cramped, enlarge your world through the joy and release of creation, and the love of Christ you can share.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:12