Darkness descended upon the world last week as the COVID-19 virus reached a pandemic state.
Washington, D.C., closed the Capitol to tourists, the Smithsonian locked their doors, Broadway in New York City and the West End in London closed the curtains, colleges and universities sent students home, businesses asked employees to telework from home, workers lost jobs, the global economy teetered on the brink, countries insulated their borders, and the entire world awaits what comes next.
Did you hear? Did you hear the Italians signing? All across the country, people hit hard by the virus leaned out their windows and porches joining voices.
They sang choruses of solidarity, tunes of hope and songs of light. In the gloomy shadow of isolation and loneliness, they found their voices. They found community and faith.
In the United States, we are searching for ours. Communities, churches, businesses and institutions took measures to protect themselves, but they also acted with their fellow humans in mind.
While much of the country has slowed to a crawl, the human spirit leaped into overdrive, demonstrating the better angels within us. We, too, are finding our song.
While darkness appeared to cover most of the world this week, good people facing bad times leaned into their shared humanity, placing others before themselves.
During these dark days, loving our neighbors must be a priority for all. To our fellow humans, especially our elderly and vulnerable, we need to show kindness, compassion, responsibility and unity in an attempt to overcome this dark moment in history.
Unfortunately, the darkness may grow darker for many in the coming months, but we must never forget to listen for the faint melodies of light that will sustain us.
We need to sing in solidarity, songs that lift the spirits of the downtrodden and inspire the souls shaken by fear.
We can overcome this dark moment, but we can only do so by leaning into community and joining the choir for the common good.
The Psalmist once wrote, “But let all who take refuge in you (O, Lord) be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11).
Even in the midst of darkness, the voices of many can be heard breaking through the night to spark and spread light.
Therefore, let us take refuge in God and our fellow neighbors. Let us join our hearts, minds and souls to recast the future now and always.
Let us breathe deeply, inhaling the spirit of God and humanity in order to exhale a new reality. This virus may make us sick, but it will never destroy our resolve.
This virus will not destroy our communities nor annihilate our economies. It will not dissolve our hope nor stricken our will. It will not take the wind out of our sails nor the breath from our lungs. Why? Because we have a song to sing!
Again, the Psalmist, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy” (Psalm 33:1-3).
Henry Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language.” As silence attempts to fall around the world, let the cities and farms reverberate with songs of courage and optimism.
We share so many more commonalities than differences, thus let us blend our voices into a familiar tune. Let us strike the right chord and keep hope alive.
The great German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Music … will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”
We would be wise to heed the German’s advice. Let’s keep music in our hearts and a song on our lips so that in this current darkness, we can connect our souls and maintain our humanity.
If you are too sick to sing, then I will sing for you. If you are too afraid to open your mouth, fear not; I will open mine. We are together, the choir of Christ with songs of love and light.
Keep your heads up, everyone, for we sing better looking toward the heavens!