Yesterday, I told you about Aunt Viola, choir director at our church for many years, about 50 years ago. Today, I’d like to tell you what she did in church last week.
In our community, the song Nun Ist Sie Erschienen is a traditional Christmas hymn. Even though our church services have been in English since the 60s, and the song isn’t in any current hymnal, it’s still sung around Christmas. (There is a photocopy of this song with each hymnal.) Some of us wish it were sung a little more often.
Our church, like many Mennonite churches, has a sharing time during the service. People share what’s going on in their lives — joys or concerns, or whatever it may be.
Last Sunday, the first day of advent, the hymn wasn’t in the bulletin. The sermon that day was on surprises (very fitting). At the end of sharing time, one of the older people in our church got the mic and said something like “I feel like singing Nun Ist Sie Erschienen, so we’re going to right now!”
Aunt Viola had been in on this — she had checked with the organist in advance. So it was all set. Aunt Viola sprung up and somehow got to the front of the sanctuary very quickly (she is in her 80s), ready to direct the congregation! And it was great. I like the song too. It was one of my grandfather’s favorites (he played it wonderfully on harmonica) and we sang it (in English) at our wedding.
After church, I asked Aunt Viola how long it had been since she had directed for a song. She didn’t know — “a very long time”. But she said that if I ever wanted to request a song during sharing time, she’d be happy to direct again! I think I might have to one of these days.