During a discussion of DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) at a meeting I was attending, God brought to mind a song titled “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir.”
Some characterize it as an old children’s song, and I remember learning it from my mom’s cousin, who taught it in our Wastedo Elementary School music class. The lyrics include a menagerie of creatures — literally a diversity of animals singing in the same choir, but those critters are analogous to all God’s people, for sure!
Nothing brings all of us together like music! Every voice in the vocal ensemble or the mass choir senses unity, whether singing in unison or harmonizing! Every unique instrument and instrumentalist in the band or orchestra plays their part in making music! Every toe-tapping listener and every dancer feels the beat that comes into them via the music! Every cheering fan in the crowded concert venue can’t keep from moving with the music! All God’s people find themselves and their place in the music!
By extension, I believe in the potential for diverse people to discover real community in a choir, band, or orchestra. I’ve seen and heard this in our Eden Prairie schools. Is it possible in my mind and heart that music just might be the best vehicle for drawing together people of diverse faiths and colors, genders and nationalities?
We’re entering the season of national holidays and festivals that bring us together through music.
Oktoberfest has long brought more than one nationality together, not just around beer but also music and dancing. Oct. 12 has been Columbus Day my entire lifetime, but recently has become Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and we will certainly see and hear costumed Native Americans drumming, dancing, and singing. I know they want their music to draw others in for a cultural experience.
Nov. 24 is Thanksgiving Day, the most ecumenical annual community gathering all through the 45 years I’ve lived in Eden Prairie. In recent years, Thanksgiving worship evolved from being multi-denominational to becoming inter-faith. Stories of gratitude and songs of thankfulness and praise have brought us together! All God’s people got a place in the choir!
Now to remember and hear the song that brought this article to mind, Google “All God’s People Got a Place in the Choir,” and play one or several of the different renditions available for listening.
More importantly, begin or increase your efforts to reach out and befriend neighbors around you from diverse faiths and colors, genders and races! Remember, strangers are only friends we haven’t met … yet!
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.