by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Come let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
My family and I live in a delightful small town. This past weekend was no exception – with a full afternoon of German singing.
Cole Camp, MO has deep roots to Germany. And with those roots comes pride and tradition. Every year the town hosts a Saengerfest (Germany Singing Festival) where groups from across the state and neighboring states gather to sing songs from their homeland. Much of the songs are sung in German and many of the singers come in their German outfits. It’s an afternoon of history and singing and connecting the past to the present.
It’s also just pure fun. Especially for my toddler daughter and I.
I love watching her experience different music and styles. I love seeing her dance and clap.
Most importantly, I love the exposure she has to communal singing. To seeing the joy and passion of others who bring their voices together in song. This weekend it just so happened to be German singing, but each Sunday during worship she’s exposed to a rich history of singing.
Together as the congregation we stand to sing hymns.
Together we hear the choir offer their talents.
Together we lift our voices for those who can’t sing.
Together we join with the communion of saints.
I sense and hope that my daughter knows, even at 2, the power, mystery, and connection of singing in a group. Of shared words and hopes. She doesn’t sing with words but she sings with her smiles and cheers. She has a whole congregation who sings for her. And someday she will be singing right along with them.
In worship she’s exposed to a diversity of musical styles – from seeing her dad play the drums, to the guitars, to the piano and organ. She sees that the church is large enough to accommodate a wide variety of musical preferences. And that there will be times when she may not understand or appreciate the hymn or music, but will know that it provides the needed hope and solace for another person. And that’s the gift of community. Of showing up week after week not because a certain service or styles meets our needs, but that it provides for our neighbors and gives thanks to God.
So we’ll keep singing. We’ll keep shouting for joy.
We’ll give thanks for the Rock of our salvation.
Come let us sing to the Lord!
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com