The Community Idea Stations and OneVirginia2021 joined forces to produce a statewide public television documentary, GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy On Its Head. This one-hour documentary will bring awareness to the impact of gerrymandering, and explore how Virginia can progress from a system where legislators create their own districts toward a system that makes sense for true representative government.
For more information contact .
This week the Singers are leading worship. This is a unique choir at Westminster. Many churches have youth choirs or teen choirs, but the Singers is made up of adults and youth grades 5 and up. When the children of Westminster participate in the choir program they begin in Choristers when they are in kindergarten, and continue in that choir through 4th grade. Choristers is a training choir that begins with unison singing, learns simple rounds and then begins to experiment with harmony both through listening and reading music.
The leap into the Singers choir is a big one. This choir sings in 3-4 parts, uses printed music most of the time, and a few times a year sings with the Adult Choir at both 8:30 and 11:00 worship. I like to describe the Singers as a group of youth who love to sing, and adults who love to sing with youth. Currently we have 20 members participating in Singers.
This week the Singers will sing When You Pass Through the Waters by Paul Weber to allow us time to reflect on the text Isaiah 43:1-7. The second piece that will be sung during the offertory is an arrangement by Tom Shelton of two African-American spirituals, I want Jesus to walk with me, and Talk about a child that do love Jesus. We have been enjoying fitting these two spirituals together in this arrangement.
1 By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there
we hung up our harps.
3 For there our captors
asked us for songs,
and our tormentors
asked for mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How could we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!
6 Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem’s fall,
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
Down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter Babylon, you devastator!
Happy shall they be who pay you back
what you have done to us!
9 Happy shall they be who take your little ones
and dash them against the rock!
The Best and Worst of a Biblical Faith
I love this theme for Lent. “What shall we do?” fuses the frustration of both winners and losers. Although never rich or powerful, I’ve never felt my voice didn’t count … until recent months. My losses always seemed short term setbacks. Now I find it easier to identify with the Jews during the Babylonian exile when they had to adjust to a pagan culture unsympathetic to their religious values. On inauguration day my sister-in-law found me moaning in the kitchen so she briskly remarked, “Now you know how the other people felt when Obama got elected.” That hurt.
Is it possible that almost half the voters in this great country felt so discouraged and thwarted in their pursuit of the American dream that they rejected my values out of hand? Or is my version of that dream too narrow? I don’t know.
What I do know is that I want my cultural and political values grounded in my faith in Christ. Everybody’s patriotism doesn’t have to be filtered that way, but mine does; and perhaps my little exile can help renew the foundations of my faith. Apparently those Babylonian Jews dug deep into their history for stories that represented the best they knew of God’s way with them. Those stories, songs and directions became scripture. Something similar happened when the disciples of Jesus found themselves put out of the synagogues, exiles from Judaism and from the Roman Empire. Yet they worked to make a connection between their commitment to Jesus and their scriptures, eventually producing the New Testament to go with the Old.
My task in the months ahead may be less creative but could require purging some of my assumptions about how God works justice for folks frustrated by mortgages under water, jobs shipped overseas, education that didn’t pay off, and soaring health care. They are my neighbors too. Before I go screaming into the night I need to pray the sort of prayer Garrison Keillor suggested for our President: a little heartfelt confession of sin; a little thanksgiving; and a plea for the kind of help I don’t currently understand.
~ David Garth
Westminster Organ Concert Series
Michael Unger, organ
U of Cincinnati College-Conservatory
Music by Buxtehude, Krebs, Pachelbel & Schumann
Friday, March 3, 7:30 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Rugby Road, Charlottesville, VA
for more information, visit www.westminsterorganconcertseries.org