This past Tuesday was the first rehearsal for the Dominican Chorale. We missed all of last year because of the COVID restrictions. The Chorale is one of those activities in which I can lose myself. Plus it stretches my vocal range and music reading capabilities. There have been times the music was not to my liking, but I made a promise to myself that if the choir was to meet this semester I would participate. Fortunately, the piece chosen was “Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré.
In preparation for our initial rehearsal, we received numerous emails detailing the procedures for our being able to come together to sing. The rehearsals take place at Dominican University, so the choir board, in collaboration with the school, set down guidelines for all participants. In fact, one of the emails gave us the option, if we were not able or comfortable following the instructions, to sit out this semester. All of the expectations were well laid out in the email communications from the choir coordinator.
One of the choir members thought they had found an ally with whom they would be able to complain about the set-up. She was not talking to me but I clearly heard what she had to say. It went something like this: “why do we need to do all this? We are all vaccinated.” The person who she presumed was an ally told her, that it was the guidelines of the University and we were simply trying to be safe. That cut off any other conversation and I was able to keep my snarky comment to myself (mostly, I probably rolled my eyes). But really, did this person not read the emails?
It reminded me of this conversation of Jesus in Luke 10:25-29: “And behold, a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 And He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?’ 27 And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ 28 And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’ 29 But wanting to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”
In essence Jesus’ response came down to asking: did you not read the words God gave to the people? The person is a lawyer. In this case it is someone who has read and is an expert in religious law. Perhaps he was just trying to make sure Jesus was a true teacher. In any event, Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18; words which would have been very familiar to the lawyer. The remainder of this exchange gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). Who is my neighbor? Our neighbor is another human being. There are no restrictions, “no partiality.” This also would be familiar to the lawyer because of the many times God and the prophets called for the people to care for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger.
Sometimes the answers we seek are right before us. It does not help if the answer we find is not the one for which we hoped or wanted to find. Maybe it is more than just reading the email or a scripture text. Maybe we also need to agree with what we see and know – and the conditions we find there. It counts when participating in a safe choir rehearsal and when it comes to serving God, our family, and our community.
Saturday – August 28
9:00 AM – LABC Reads – His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope, Jon Meacham
10:00 AM – Time for Prayer, Psalm 74
Sunday – August 29
10:00 AM – LABC Worship (In-person, livestream, ZOOM)
11:45 AM – Adult Bible Study (In person, ZOOM)
2:00 PM – Marian Ott Memorial Service