“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”

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I’m not sure how anyone else feels, but in recent weeks and months I have come to dread hearing the news. Everyone is so angry. There’s been a standoff in Oregon; North Korea wants the world to believe that it has a hydrogen bomb; there is heated political rhetoric coming from all sides as the presidential race draws nearer. I could keep going, but the cacophony of all of it is deafening enough, without me beating those same drums myself. You get the point.

I can remember back in December, leading up to Christmas, wondering, “what is going on with the world?” All of this craziness just did not seem appropriate leading up to a celebration of the advent of the Prince of Peace. The din of the world frequently seems to drown out the hymns of the faithful.

Even though I was dismayed, I shouldn’t have been surprised by any of this, of course. My family has a sixteen–year–old cat who stays outside because, it turned out, everyone in the family was allergic. Frequently, in her younger days, Sally would leave parts of animals on the doormat at the backdoor of the house. My initial reaction was always anger that some poor animal had been killed, but I also knew immediately how silly that reaction was.

Likewise, how can I be surprised when the world acts like the world?

What I’m tempted to do is to withdraw back within the confines of the Church and indulge in the spiritual harmonies of the Body of Christ. What I find behind these doors is variety––ages, races, views, values, opinions. And yet, despite this diversity, the members of this Body are members of the same choir, they are led by one Director. It makes no sense for the mezzo sopranos to be in conflict with the baritones. All of these different voices, despite the various timbres, and notes, and harmonies––all of them are of one accord.

So, it’s only natural I’m tempted to retreat behind the walls of this monastic enclave. It is beautiful and uplifting. But that isn’t the instruction that we receive when we listen to the messages of the music of the Gospel. Instead, what Jesus calls us to do is to first listen to the music, and then to go out and teach the world a new song. We are called to demonstrate the way in which we can be individuals, but that we can also harmonize our individual voices under the direction of the Composer of the universe.

DJ Dycus, Ph.D

Professor of English and Humanities

My prayer for you, as well as for me, is that I would discover my part in the composition and faithfully sing that song until the world picks up on the beauty of this catchy tune.