This Month's Newsletter

The monthly Sing For Joy newsletter contains a letter from the program's host, Rev. Alexandra M. Jacob, 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.

November 2022 Newsletter (Year C-A)

A NARROW SEA

The beginning of November brings one of my very favorite holy days of the Christian calendar, observed by Christians across the globe and across traditions: All Saints Day. On All Saints Day, Christians around the world remember and give thanks for the faithful saints and ancestors who have gone before us in the faith. In the church of my childhood, a central part of the All Saints liturgy included a litany of the names of church members who had died in the past year. In other congregations I've been a part of, worshipers have been invited to light candles in remembrance of departed saints, to share testimonies of beloved ancestors, or to share aloud the names of saints during the Communion liturgy. These practices are but a sample of all the rich rituals around All Saints that exist in communities across the globe! The day offers a meaningful chance to remember and give thanks.

On our All Saints program of Sing For Joy, we will hear a choral anthem by contemporary English composer Grayston Ives. The text is by prolific 18th century hymn writer Isaac Watts, a multi-stanza hymn called "There Is a Land of Pure Delight." The hymn text engages images of what I sometimes call "life beyond life," the abundant life we will enjoy with God beyond this earthly life. I admit that I sometimes shy away from images of heaven — streets paved with gold, pearly gates — because they can serve to distract us from the presence of God that already dwells all around us in our everyday lives. But the particular set of images that Watts gifts us within this hymn text are beautiful and expansive. 

The second verse is especially poignant: in this "land of pure delight," "everlasting spring abides, and never withering flowers: death, like a narrow sea, divides this heavenly land from ours." Indeed, All Saints Day assures us that death is not a gaping chasm or a depthless ocean; it is a "narrow sea." The gift of this holy day is in the reminder that the saints and ancestors who went before us are united with God in death. Even as we grieve and remember the lives of the faithful departed, the truth of All Saints Day, we rejoice in the promise of resurrection. The final verse of Watts' text assures us, "Could we but climb where Moses stood, and view the landscape o'er, not Jordan's stream nor death's cold flood should fright us from the shore." 

I hope you'll join us this month on Sing For Joy, as we begin the month with All Saints Sunday and end the month with the first Sunday of Advent. These holy days and seasons are rich with meaning for us this year as ever. Blessings to you as you journey along.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Alexandra M. Jacob

Program Host, Sing For Joy

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Sing For Joy is supported by listeners like you. All gifts go directly towards our operating budget that makes Sing For Joy possible. To become a sustaining supporter, check the "recurring gift" option on our online giving form.

November Playlists and Programs

Interested in reading hymn lyrics as you listen? We recommend hymnary.org, where you can search by hymn name, composer, and more.

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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:

Rebecca Bingham Carnes

Rev. James DeLange

Bud Egdahl

Albert and Norma Eickmann

Arthur and Erna Raap

IN HONOR OF:

Pastor Bruce Benson

Mr. and Mrs. Allen E Hench

Rev. C. Ralph Mills

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 their street or email address.

Sing For Joy is sponsored by:

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