When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Luke 19: 37-44
So much conspires to keep us silent~
Faith is not fashionable;
A crutch for the weak
Far easier to worship the earth
Or each other
Or nothing at all
Rather than exalt the
Living God Everlasting.
His name no longer spoken
At school or work
Remembered one hour a week
Forgotten by most.
Sing of His glory
In joy and gratitude
Never to be silenced
While we have tongues.
If we do not shout out loud,
Nor spread branches at His feet,
If we worry what others might think,
The stones will cry out and will not stop,
As He weeps, as He weeps
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
The songs from the swamp were faintly detectable in the distance about six weeks ago. In the middle of winter, due to unduly mild temperatures, the frog chorus had begun in the wetlands surrounding our farm. It was almost disorienting, along with the daffodils budding in late January and lawns needing mowing in February. An early March cold snap sent the frogs back into the mud and the evening concerts ceased briefly. Then suddenly today, along with the sun, they are back, this time closing in right next to our bedroom window, populating the small fish pond in our front yard. With voices so numerous, strong and insistent, it feels as though a New York City of Pacific Chorus Frogs moved in next door, and our family is seated in the balcony of Carnegie Hall. They seem to be directed by an unseen conductor, as their voices rise and fall together and then cut off suddenly with a slice of the baton, plunging into uncomfortable silence at the slightest provocation, as if holding an extended resting fermata for minutes on end.
The frogs’ repertoire is limited but their wind power, stamina and ability to project their voices impressive. They are most tenacious at making their presence known to any other peeper within a mile radius. Then when the coyotes are chorusing in the field out back, just a hundred yards away from our other bedroom window, yip-yip-yelping their song at the moon, we are serenaded by the sopranos and altos of the farm’s wild fauna. There is an occasional percussive beat of a barn owl’s click as he flies overhead, and the intermittent tenor hoohooooo’s back and forth between mates perched in trees around the house. Add in the deep bass huh-huh-huh-huh of our stallion’s nicker as he talks with our mares through the barn wall, and it makes for a fine evening concert indeed.
Everyone’s welcome to attend the next performance at our farm. Admission is free as long as you are willing to help clean barn the next day.
As a relatively new member of a small town choral society, I am discovering choirs of all sorts are joyous groups, a collection of individuals perhaps as disparate as the creatures on our farm, joining together to create a woven musical tapestry. The Lenten portion of Handel’s Messiah is a challenging work that our group will perform later this week, prior to the beginning of Holy Week, as our faith community prepares for Easter. As a novice singer, I am learning to find the right notes, stay on key, pronounce the words correctly, turn the pages at the right time, watch the conductor, know when to start and when to be silent, when to stand up and sit down in unison, and most natural to me, how to actually show the emotion of the words.
If there would be a command to silence, if we are told to keep quiet, if we are somehow prevented from singing this amazing choral work, or even if there is not a cacophony of sounds out our bedroom window every spring evening, I have no doubt the stones themselves would cry out. It is that important to sing praises loud and clearly, whether it be a choral society, a peeper chorus, a coyote concert or the hosannas shouted during His ride into Jerusalem.
Everyone’s welcome to attend. Admission is free. No barn cleaning necessary. Instead be prepared for washing of your feet and cleansing of the heart.