St. Peter’s presents a Hymn Festival entitled “No Darkness at All” Saturday, February 22nd at 7pm. The evening will be a celebration of hymnody and theologically-centered readings from the Bible and other sources centered around the theme of God’s light shared with God’s people and the whole world.
Hymn festivals are a development from the 20th century. Specifically, Paul Manz, a musician at Mt. Olive Lutheran in St. Paul Minnesota, was an early champion of the form. During his annual organ recitals at the church, he would begin and end with a hymn. At some point, he did a recital of all hymns which turned out to be a huge success. Since then, the hymn festival has been a vehicle for churches to share the message of the Gospel in a format which is a mix of concert and worship.
St. Peter’s theme for this Hymn Festival comes from the hymn “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” which contains the lyrics:
In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
Near the end of February, the whole northern hemisphere seems to be ready to welcome more daylight back into their lives. We wish for light to return so we may experience the joy that is the return of life in the springtime. Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers also long for the light as it signals a return to health. Similarly, we long for God’s light to reign in our lives.
What is the light of God? What might it mean in our lives? How do we experience it? Where do we find it? How does it find us? This may look different for each and every one of us. No Darkness at All seeks to shed some light (ha!) on just a few of these ways that God’s light may pervade our existence. A variety of musical styles and texts may speak to us on a personal level or broaden our horizons to allow us to consider the possibility that God’s light may reveal truths we didn’t expect.
We hope you’ll take the time to come out to the festival. The choirs have been preparing to lead music, all we need is a group of people to help us sing these songs which have formed us as a community and will continue to form us as the people of God. Come, sing some hymns, and stay for some light refreshments to talk about how God’s continues to light up your life.