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The Annual Church Concert

Did you hear the joyful noise that filled the air on Sunday night? Brass, guitar, banjo, drum, and voices… all raised in joyful song! If you were at Lenape Valley on Sunday night, you would have seen three flat-bed trucks side-by-side (many thanks to the folks at Marvic Supply Co. for that donation), transformed into a stage for the evening by flowers and a bold yellow Lion Chaser sign. And you would have seen a parking lot filled with folks sitting in their cars, others at tables, and still more out on the lawn with children playing all around as music filled the air. Friends waved a greeting. Shoppers from the stores nearby came to check out the fun. Neighbors sat on their back porches to enjoy the moment.

Many thanks to all those who sacrificed their time and effort to create such an amazing evening. A special thanks to Diane Daly for her faithful determination!

 The first piece sung by our Praise Band defined the evening- House of the Lord by Phil Wickham: 
There’s joy in the house of the Lord.
There’s joy in the house of the Lord, today!
And we won’t be silent.
We shout out Your praise!
Joy and Praise… Sunday night wasn’t just a concert it was a full participation event. Our children danced with abandon. People clapped and sang along. At one point a group of ladies did a Rockettes’ style Can-Can dance from their lawn chairs while Kevin and Bianca played a duet on the piano. By the time the Praise Band began Good God Almighty, people offered a robust response:
Tell me is He good?---- He’s Good!
Tell me is He God?-----He’s God!
He is Good God Almighty!
I am sure we left no doubt in the minds of our neighbors that there is Joy in the house of the Lord today!

Sunday night reminded me of an ancient Bible story from the book of Ezra. The people of God had lived in exile in Babylon for 70 years. At least two generations had come and gone during that time, while the people of Israel yearned to return to their homeland. Their beloved Jerusalem lay in ruins, the Temple reduced to a pile of rubble. After what felt like an eternity to the people, God provided for their return, complete with the resources to rebuild. The first project was the rebuilding of the Temple. Ezra tells us that when the builders laid the foundation of the new Temple, “all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord.” (Ezra 3:11) But while many shouted for joy, those who could remember the former Temple wept. This new Temple would be different than the Temple of Solomon that they could remember from their youth. Imagine the combination of joyful shouts and anguished weeping, some looking to the future God was creating and others mourning the past. (Ezra 3:12-13)

When I look at Lenape Valley 2021, I see a church that looks different than we did in 2019. Many of the traditions that we held so dear have had to change because of the pandemic. Sunday night was an example of change- our beloved church picnic has been usurped by a Kick-off Concert. In the face of all the changes, we have a choice- will we weep or shout for joy? Will we yearn for the Lenape Valley we remember, or will we embrace the Lenape Valley that God is raising up for the days ahead? On Sunday night, Lenape Valley united in a joyful shout that focuses on the new God is creating in our midst. There is joy in the House of the Lord, today! As the Praise Band led us in Good God Almighty, they helped us express my hope for the years ahead:
Good God Almighty
I hope You’ll find me (us)
 Praising Your Name no matter what comes!
Someone asked me the other day what I thought our ministry would look like as we emerge slowly from this pandemic. I responded honestly- I don’t know! I catch glimpses of God’s vision for us… I see the foundations being laid for the new Temple… but God has only just begun to create the Lenape Valley that God needs us to be for the days ahead. I hope we step joyfully into the future God has envisioned for us.
Tell me is He good?---- He’s Good!
Tell me is He God?-----He’s God!
He is Good God Almighty!
With you shouting with joy!
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