This Month's Newsletter

The monthly Sing For Joy newsletter contains a letter from the program's host, Pastor Bruce Benson, along with a listing of music selections for each program and the corresponding scripture readings. If you'd like to receive a complimentary subscription, fill out our online request form for either the print newsletter or the electronic newsletter.

June 2018 Newsletter (Year B)
June "Disobedience," by Pastor Bruce Benson

Something about June seems to soften attitudes toward strict obedience, and not necessarily in a bad way. Students, for example, start to loosen up their attitudes toward homework and assignments, their thoughts and dreams moving from school to summer, and, even though teachers know very well that the highest quality student work is rarely done in June, somehow, that doesn’t seem to be such a big problem. Workers, likewise, start thinking about long weekend getaways, and maybe an occasional early departure from work in order to buy food for the grill or meet friends at a ballpark. Vacation planning doesn’t always wait for the end of the work day, sometimes sneaking into the work day itself. Yes, even Mom and Dad occasionally like to kick back on lovely June afternoons and tell the kids they can find dinner in the fridge.

So it is rather good timing that the Sundays in June begin with the Gospel story of Jesus showing less than strict adherence to Sabbath laws. He doesn’t care how many people see him when he heals a man (that is, does work) on the Sabbath, and his disciples openly pluck grain to eat as they walk through a field on the Sabbath day. Jesus’ critics are appalled that he has so little regard for the Sabbath law. He, however, is equally appalled that they have so little regard for human life and well-being. Your scale of values has been messed up, Jesus tells them; you seem to think that the law is more important than people. 

In truth, they probably did think that, because such an opinion seemed to be God-pleasing. Didn’t God call into being a people, a community, a nation to keep covenant? To be obedient? Surely the covenant laws of God are more important than people? You don’t go casual on the laws of God just because it is a beautiful June day. 

This is not a story of Jesus suddenly turning careless or thoughtless about God’s covenant. Far from it. It is a story of Jesus obeying the spirit of the law. Good students and teachers don’t suddenly decide in June that education is frivolous or useless, they just remember once again that students don’t exist for the sake of school, and that school (with all its deadlines, assignments and expectations) exists to serve students. And workers don’t forget the value of meaningful employment just because the weather is nice; they do remember, however, that human life is more than labor. Jesus reminds his audience too, that God’s covenant does not exist for its own sake, but for blessing the people who are called to live it out. 

On Sing For Joy the week this Gospel story is read, you will hear a well-known hymn text by Brian Wren. It sums up the sort of obedience Jesus honors in the story. The goal for Jesus is not joyless, graceless, stern obedience. Instead, Jesus comes, as the hymn puts it ... to bring good news to this and every age, till earth and sky and ocean ring with joy, with justice, love, and praise.

Peace be with you,




Pastor Bruce Benson

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Our spring fund drive ends May 31. Show your support and donate today!

June Playlists and Programs

Playlists are ready now, and each show will become available to stream on the Friday before the week begins.

June 3, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 9 (Year B)

June 10, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 10 (Year B)

June 17, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 11 (Year B)

June 24, 2018: Time After Pentecost — Lectionary 12 (Year B)

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Listener Letters

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Lanterns and candle on altar of Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf College
Memorials and Honorariums

Thank you for your gifts in memory and honor of those close to your heart.


Joan Bruer of Morris, MN

Clyde and Evelyn Bucher

Paul J. Christiansen

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Haugan

Roger Kihler, Julius & Helen Kihler, Angelo & Gladys Cavallini

Marian W Kinzinger

Carolyn R. Kiser, my mother

Susan Rohlas Quinn, who passed away February 12, 2018

Margaret Huss Smith

Pastor Reg Torrison


Bruce Benson and Jeff O’Donnell

John Ferguson

Dr. John Ferguson, receiving AGO’s Distinguished Artist Award

Jay E. Hartzler

Henry Alexander Kleven, born 4/15/18 to
Stefanie Fiser Kleven (2006) and Eric Kleven

our children and their families

Charles L. Wilson, my husband; 44 years of wonderful marriage

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Donations can celebrate a personal milestone such as an anniversary or birthday, or honor a loved one who perhaps also enjoyed music, all while furthering the Sing For Joy mission to bring sacred choral music to listeners around the world.

Sing For Joy is sponsored by:

Sukup Manufacturing Co., St. Olaf College, and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)