We had a wonderful, uplifting Christmas concert here last Sunday, with choirs, bell choirs, orchestra, and much passion. I hope you were here to share its joy; and if not, be sure to put it on your calendar next year!
On Monday, Dick Corson forwarded to me this story, from a blog by Terry Hershey (www.terryhershey.com):
On a June day in 1944, two weeks after D-Day, a few miles from the bloody shores of Omaha Beach, members of the 404th Fighter Group worked to carve an airstrip out of the Normandy countryside. Their efforts cost the lives of 28 Army engineers at the hands of the German snipers who persisted and fought after the D-Day battle. Most were located and captured or killed. One lone sniper still remained in the nighttime distance.
Back at the airstrip, Capt. Jack Tueller took out his trumpet. He’d used it on many a starlit night to entertain the men of the 404th. His commander told him, “Not tonight. I know your trumpet makes the most glorious sound, but with the sniper still out there, you will put us in harm’s way.”
In Tueller’s own words, “I thought to myself, that German sniper is as lonely and scared as I am. How can I stop him from firing? So I played the German love song, ‘Lili Marleen,’ (made famous in the late ’30s by Marlene Dietrich, the famous German actress). And I wailed that trumpet over those apple orchards of Normandy. And he didn’t fire.”
The next morning, the military police approached Tueller to tell him they had a German prisoner on the beach who kept asking, “Who played that trumpet last night?”
Tueller describes the moment, “I grabbed my trumpet and went down to the beach. There was a 19-year-old German boy, scared and lonesome. He was dressed like a French peasant to cloak his role as a sniper. And, crying, he said, ‘I couldn’t fire because I thought of my fiancé. I thought of my mother and father. My role is finished.'”
“He stuck out his hand, and I shook the hand of the enemy,” Tueller said. “[But] he was no enemy, because music had soothed the savage beast.”
I love Tueller’s story because music unlocks mercy… and who knows, maybe even the possibility for healing.
I love that phrase: music unlocks mercy.
It does. Music opens our hearts and helps us hear things differently, see things with new eyes. The people in this church who help us feel God in our souls every Sunday through music are amazing gifts to us.
One of those who has led us in this way is leaving us.
Bill and Lynn Coye will be moving to North Carolina early in 2015. Lynn has been offered a wonderful work opportunity there, and will begin her new position at the end of January. Bill has agreed to remain with us as Choir Director until Easter, and then he will join Lynn.
This is a wonderful opportunity for them, and it’s a loss to CUMC, to all of us. They too—especially Bill—will have a hard time leaving this community.
We’ll have lots of opportunities over the next few months to thank Bill for his gifts and for the way he has thrown himself into loving this church through music. But don’t hesitate to thank him yourself, all along the way.
We are in the final days of Advent. Our waiting for the coming of our God to live among us becomes our joy that he does indeed come–right into our homes, our hearts, our lives.
Blessings and love, Kathi
Advent Organ Concert ~ Tomorrow, Friday, December 19th, at 12:30 p.m., take a respite in your busy day and come for a half-hour of seasonal music in the Sanctuary. The concert features Linda Wilson on clarinet and Mary Ann Gee on organ. The concert is free and open to the public.
Christmas Eve Potluck ~ Sign up Sunday for the Potluck to be held Christmas Eve following the 5pm service, with dinner starting at about 6:30pm. We will be accepting sign-ups (Call the Office) through December 21st. Potluck dishes don’t require that you spend all your time cooking – there are many things you can bring that don’t need to be cooked if that is your preference. Signing up is very important – you may call the office at (408) 378-3472 if you are unable to sign up during Fellowship Hour.
Remember, Christmas Eve is a wonderful time to invite neighbors and friends to come to church with you.
Two services on Wednesday, December 24:
5:00 p.m. – A family friendly service, with the Christmas story told especially for children
10:00 p.m. – Festival of Lessons and Carols, a candlelight procession, and communion in the chapel following the service. Music begins at 9:45.