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 to subscribe.

June 2019 Newsletter (Year C)

Pastor Bruce Benson

Dominion: a place to be at home

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, 

     the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,

     and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under their feet. ..."

                                    Psalm 8 (NRSV)

Right in the middle of June this year — bright, warm, exuberant, green June — the Sunday lectionary assigns Psalm 8 as Psalm of the Day. The day is Trinity Sunday; creation is a theme. Psalm 8, lovely and inspiring as it is, has also, over decades and centuries, raised plenty of questions about how to understand the notion of dominion. Rather than rehearsing the long history of that debate, I'd like to suggest simply that Sing For Joy listeners and supporters might consider how both June and music can inform our ongoing conversation. 

It is true that the words dominion and dominate share a common root, but domestic, domicile and domain share it too. Therefore, as interpreters, we ought not be in a hurry to say that having "all things under our feet" means permission to stomp or even to tread carelessly. The root of the word dominion reminds us that it just might be "home" we are treading on. Music offers to help us here, by providing us with an understanding of dominion that isn't competitive or authoritarian. 

A musician has music as a dominion, a realm, a place of activity where, because of competence, commitment and regular practice, he or she is at home in the work. But music, unlike some other domains in life, is not a place where dominion feels at all like domination. Even the most accomplished — perhaps I should say, especially the most accomplished — musicians typically describe themselves as servants of their art, not rulers over it. Those who exercise dominion in this realm do so by virtue of talent combined with respect, love and dedication to the flourishing of music.

The month of June feels a bit like music in that way. How is it possible to rule over fragrant, fertile, floriferous June? It can't be done. But anyone who has recently finished taking or grading final exams, anyone who is weary of a long winter, and everyone who simply appreciates the happy symphonic crescendo of green life that happens every June dwells in all that living grandeur as a dominion, a place to be at home and in love with it all.

Sometime during June, I hope you will take a moment to think about what it means to have all things under your feet. But before you do, take off your shoes, you are on holy ground. A place to sing for joy!

Peace be with you,

Bruce Benson

Pastor Bruce Benson

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Lanterns in Boe Chapel

Memorials and Honorariums

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

IN MEMORY OF:

Pastor Melvin C. Blobaum

David Blomberg

Clyde and Evelyn Bucher

Suzan Deaton

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Haugan

Julia and Noel Holm

Lucille Hultgren

Marian W. Kinzinger

Jennifer Koenig

Irving Thompson

IN HONOR OF:

Dr. Lee and Susan Beall

Dr. Matt Brittain

Easter

Katie Jeddeloh

Pastor Ralph and LaVonne Johnshoy

To include an honorarium or memorial when you give to Sing For Joy, simply include the name(s) and occasion(s) in the comment box, as well as who should receive an acknowledgement letter and a mailing address.

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.