Revelation 5:9-10 gives a slight glimpse into the reality of the new heaven and new earth that will commence when Christ comes. This verse provides a great picture of the bride of Christ and the diversity it celebrates. It proclaims, “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’”
Just a thought, but isn’t this a great framework for us to shadow here in our everyday life as Christians? At Redeemer, we are taking a small step to imitate this future existence, and it is playing itself out in the form of a choir.
When someone mentions the word ‘choir’, different images come to mind for different people. Some of you might picture a mass of people in robes and others might think of a lot of mouths moving at the same time creating a big wash of sound. Perhaps others of you might go immediately to a choir that is very homogeneous, such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir where everyone is a part of the same religion; a black gospel choir where the same race is represented; or maybe the Vienna Boys’ choir where the age range is limited to preteen boys with unreal high voices. The meaning of what a choir actually is has various ways of playing out doesn’t it?
When we decided to create a choir at Redeemer, we considered some of these traditional elements of a choir and saw some of them as valuable, but other aspects were not as crucial to us. What we really desired was to redefine what a choir is for our context and hopefully it would be significant to our people. We wanted it to reflect a cross-section of who we are and also serve our church services in practical and spiritual ways.
There were also purposes we did not want the choir to serve. We did not want it to be gimmicky or cliché in any way. Also we especially didn’t want it to be homogeneous because that is not who we are nor is it what we desire our church to be in the future.
Redeemer is slowly becoming a church that is multigenerational, multicultural and multiethnic. We have been praying that God would make that true of who we are and it is happening. We couldn’t be happier! But to be honest, we started out as a church that looked very white and very young. We were homogenous. Even more honest, we almost looked biased toward that specific demographic, and it possibly came off as exclusive. For that, we are repenting. We believe the Bible has called Redeemer to something much richer, deeper and inclusive.
So we see a simple idea like a choir as a step forward with those goals. Here are our reasons for implementing a choir in our services. Hopefully these reasons reveal our heart toward this goal:
The Redeemer Choir exists to…
1. Help facilitate multiple expressions of worship to our congregation by being expressive through the act of singing, raising hands, clapping, rejoicing, etc. all for the glory of Jesus Christ.
2. Represent a cross-section of our diverse congregation.
3. Symbolically denounce any idea of exclusivity in regard to race, culture, class, or age.
4. Add more vocal singing as an auxiliary instrument in our song arrangements. We plan to incorporate a choir each month to help us during our services for these purposes. We don’t expect the choir to be a silver bullet for our vision of diversity at our church, but it certainly is a step in that direction and hopefully will be seen by our congregation as a sample of who we are as a church body.
Therefore, Redeemer will be incorporating a choir into our services every month for the above listed reasons. We trust in our God to do these things through it. Our hope is that you happen to capture a glimpse of that final picture in Revelation where we are all standing around the throne of God, looking to our left and right, seeing the differences that once divided us now celebrated as a part of God’s reigning kingdom.