Text: Acts 16:25-40
That the praise of God in song would continue everywhere in creation
To carry songs to God’s glory in your memory
To be ready to give witness at any time, any place
THE CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a delightful story because of what happens at the end: the Grinch, having stolen all the holiday decorations, toys and presents, and food, is astounded that the Whos down in Whoville don’t begin crying when Christmas Day arrives, but rather greet the day singing. What is more, their song is not a jeering, mean-spirited song aimed at the Grinch as their enemy; their song is joyous and hopeful.
No wonder the Grinch puzzed and puzzed ‘til his puzzler was sore…
I imagine that the jailer’s puzzler was mighty sore as he first had to listen to his prisoners sing hymns (in the ancient world, the jailer and his family would have lived within the jail building or very close by) and then, after all the doors and bonds are burst open, finds them still sitting in the cells! The jailer’s discovery is overwhelming—it makes no sense! How are these men able to live, to walk through life in this way? I can’t pretend that this didn’t happen—what must I do?
They say the jailer’s heart grew three sizes that day.
The song of Paul and his companions rose out of their relationship with Jesus, the Lord who holds them, holds them even when things look bleak. The songs of the Church—our songs—remind and teach us of God’s love for us; they console, inspire and strengthen us in faith; they connect us to the wondrous variety of the Church, men and women from every time and place. When we sing the Church’s song, we know we are not alone. Make no mistake: we are not a club or social organization where we may hold membership, pay dues and participate in its club functions. We are part of the Holy Nation, the Royal Priesthood, the Body of Christ, the Communion of Saints, the Kingdom of God, and we sing just as the angels sing, just as the morning stars sang together, just as the trees on the hills skip and sing, just as the rocks themselves must shout out, just as all creation sings to its Lord.
And they say to us, welcome, welcome!
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks
---Detail, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Suess