by Sister Nunother
We are the Magi bearing precious gifts, the shepherds tending flocks, the angel chorus on a star-lit night, the carpenter father, the tender mother. We are conversely Herod and his soldiers, rumors of war, haters of holiness, lovers of iniquity. We arrive at rehearsals with our back-pack burdens of musical score, pencil, bottled water, energy bar, and unruly emotions about to be stirred.
I turn to my bible and explore the profound effect of Bunyan’s he Pilgrim’s Progress. I choose Hosea 14:1-2. Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to Him, “Take away all guilt; accept what is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips.”
It’s such a privilege to sing and listen to powerful words united with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ music in his opera, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Life is a difficult journey, filled with danger real and imagined, temptations blatant and subtle, sorrow, grief, a longing for home, and a search for love that forgives. It’s all present here—visible and audible—lovely in its simplicity and candor.
In January 2017, my beautiful niece lost her life in unspeakable tragedy. Her manner of death left a trail of tears for others’ grief to follow. I see her now in House Beautiful and hear Bunyan’s words, An open door shall be set before thee and no man may shut it. Come thou blessed, enter into the joy of the Lord. A treasure of joy and gladness, joy and gladness be given to thee. A room is prepared for thee; the window shall be toward the sun rising, and the name of the chamber shall be peace.
I end with this question to myself, “Who am I to argue?”
Member of the Chorus