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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish— 

A few weeks ago, when I preached on the feast of St. Mary the Virgin, I shared how I sing to my children each and every night before they fall asleep. I told the story of the songs we sing, and reflected on the power of song to lift our hearts, our spirits, and to direct our whole selves towards God's dream of justice and joy. 

I love to sing. I certainly can be regularly caught walking around my house singing some tune or another. But one of the things I love the most is to sing with others in community. One of the most beautiful things about the gathered church is when congregations like ours come together to amplify our prayers through song.

Singing like this—in community with one another—is an opportunity to reach beyond our individual selves, to join with one another as we seek to glimpse the face of God.

The songs we sing reveal so much about who we are as a people, and who we understand God to be. They help us to proclaim—together—the story of God's faithfulness. They help us to voice our faith and our joy; they are an opportunity to voice our adoration of the God who was, who is, and is to come. They also help us to voice lament at a world that is not all as it should be, echoing the songs of the Psalmist and the Prophets, even as we pray for and work towards a world in which all have enough. 

This Sunday, we will have the chance to sing together for the first time in a long time. We will remain masked and at a distance from one another. But we will sing, all the same.

This Sunday as we enter the. Season of Creation, we will sing hymns of adoration and praise. The Season of Creation is an intentional time in our church when we pay attention to the beauty and glory of our Creator. It's an opportunity to reflect in our songs and in our prayers on what it means to be stewards of the Good Creation with which we have been entrusted by God. 

As we prepare for this Sunday's celebration of God's love; as we prepare to meet God in word and sacrament, in prayer, in silence, and song, may God be as close as the song on our lips.

This Sunday, our offertory Hymn will be "Lord, Listen to your Children Praying." It's a short refrain that we will repeat several times over. As you prepare for this Sunday's gathering, consider listening to this version of the song as a way of preaparing your heart for worship. 

See you Sunday!

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner