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.

February 2020 Newsletter (Year A)

Pastor Bruce Benson

Transfiguration and Music

The final Sunday of February this year is the final Sunday of Epiphany season, a Sunday widely known as Transfiguration Sunday because the story of Jesus' transfiguration is the gospel reading for that day ... Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them ... (Matt 17:1,2).

On the one hand, this was a wholly unique experience for the disciples. On the other, transfigurations of various kinds do happen. Not as daily occurrences, but as occasional surprises. These are moments when our whole way of looking at someone or something changes and what we see feels more real, more important, more awe-inspiring than what we had seen before. Sight becomes insight. Just such a thing happened to Peter, James and John on the mountaintop, and such things happen to others in other ways.  

In an oft-quoted example, the American writer Annie Dillard wrote about one such experience with a tree in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame ... It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. She then explains that the vision did not last, but its effect on her did. I have since only rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it. In more ordinary — yet still memorable — ways, anyone may have a similar experience. It can happen with sunsets or high mountain views when for a moment life itself and all creation feels infinitely precious and loveable; it can happen when one is present for birth or death, or when watching moments of exquisitely tender love between a parent and child. The commonplace in such a moment glows with elevated significance and worth. There are no tickets for admission to these experiences; they cannot be purchased. They cannot be forced. They can only be welcomed.

Is there a doorway that leads to transfiguration? A threshold which, when crossed, opens suddenly on wonder — eternity in time? Is it a high place? A mountaintop? Light? The story of Jesus' disciples seeing him transfigured before them involves both a mountain and light.

Might music also be a servant of transfiguration?

Music does transfigure; not inevitably — transfigurations are never guaranteed — but music is capable of remaking any space, for a moment, into a concert hall or sanctuary, a cathedral built, phrase by arching phrase, from weightless stones of sound. When it does that, the effects linger in the listener even after the melody, like the light of Jesus' transfiguration, is gone. The disciples must leave the mountain, but they take a new vision with them. Likewise, singing stops, but it can break open a world of grace before it does.

Grace, therefore, invites us to sing for joy.

Peace be with you,

Bruce Benson

Pastor Bruce Benson

Support Sing For Joy

Thank you for supporting Sing For Joy during our fall fund drive, which ended on December 31. We met and surpassed our goal of $12,000 with $15,260 raised in listener gifts! Of course we welcome your support any time of year. All gifts go directly towards our operating budget that makes Sing For Joy possible. Have questions or want to donate by phone? Call us at 507-786-2600.

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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:

Jim Braulick

My Husband, Charlie

Harold Elliott

Ruth Ferguson

Althea Jelle

Julia Jondahl

LuJean Juvrud

Jennifer Koenig

Jennifer A. Koenig '87

Marcus Lehman '68

John S. Pelletier, Parish Lector & Trustee

Pearl and Herbert Spencer

IN HONOR OF:

Church of Our Savior Adult Choir

Doris and Charles Hybl on occasion of
their 57th Wedding Anniversary on 2/2/2020

Sarah Raessler 

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.