By Carol Pipes
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In an effort to provide some much-needed connection during a time of social distancing and shelter-at-home orders, the Lifeway Worship team is coordinating a virtual choir for Palm Sunday.
Being physically apart has served as a reminder of just how truly connected we are as a society and especially as the Church, said Mike Harland, director of Lifeway Worship.
“We realize choir members and worship teams miss singing together on Sundays,” he said. “We thought it would be nice to bring some joy to a hurting world by coming together to create a virtual choir from our own homes.”
On March 20, the Lifeway Worship team put out a call for people to lend their voices to the familiar hymn “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” arranged by Lifeway Worship’s Charlie Sinclair and Craig Adams.
Singers and musicians were asked to download music charts and tracks and record a video of themselves singing or playing along to the music. The Lifeway Worship team will then collect videos of the performances and mix the sound and videos to produce a virtual choir, said Harland.
Lifeway Worship plans to livestream a watch party on Palm Sunday, April 5, at 7 p.m. (CDT) on their Facebook page Facebook.com/LifeWayWorshipDotCom/.
Harland said he’s been somewhat surprised by the number and types of submissions they’ve received.
“We’ve had people from across the country and around the world send in videos—even as far as South Korea and Australia. We’ve even had some musicians lend their musical talents. We have video of a woman playing her flute and a high school student playing the cajón. It’s great to see people connecting in different ways.”
Lifeway Worship has received 40 video submissions so far with many more people having expressed interest. Harland expects to have a 100-voice choir by the time all the submissions are in. Videos are due by midnight (CDT), Wednesday, April 1.
Harland said they chose “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” for the virtual choir because he believes the song has a timely message. “We’re trusting Jesus to see us through this crisis.”
Harland also believes lifting our voices together during times like this is important for the Church.
“I think the biblical admonition to sing is one of the most common commands in Scripture,” Harland said. “Very often in Scripture we find the command to sing being a corporate one. For instance, in Psalm 95:1, the English translation could be translated ‘Let us all sing.’ The singing described there is distinctively corporate in nature. And it’s something the Church can only do together.”
Harland admits the only way we can all sing together is to be together, which is seemingly impossible while we are physically separated through “social distancing.”
“Through the virtual choir, we’re hoping to use technology to accomplish singing together even though it will be different from being physically together,” Harland said.
“In this time of isolation, the Church is running to virtual ways to gather because I think instinctively the body of Christ longs to be together to experience worship together. This is one way we’re trying to help that happen,” Harland said.
“We can’t wait to see this massive virtual choir come together to sing this wonderful song.”
Carol Pipes is director of Corporate Communications as Lifeway Christian Resources.