One of my favorite choir songs is “Draw the Circle Wide” by Mark Miller. If you aren’t familiar with this piece, I encourage you to watch the youtube video. It’s a beautiful song with a very important message.
When our church choir first started singing this song several months ago I was so excited. The message at that time was that we needed to widen the circle to include more young people, more young families, more people with darker skin than mine, and more differences to our church. We needed to open up our circle and make some changes. This thrilled me. I was hopeful that those in our church resistant to change, would hear this message.
Our congregation loved the song, the choir loved the song, and it became the theme for our stewardship campaign – we sang at least a portion of this song each week for 6 weeks. Before long, we were clapping along, the congregation would sing with the choir, and the message was spreading.
This past Sunday as I prepared for worship, God spoke to my heart. While I was thinking this song was a message for “others” – those who don’t appreciate children in worship, those who think youth need to sit still and be quiet, those who don’t appreciate differences or desire change. This message was for me.
Draw the Circle Wide, Leanne.
We are all called to draw the circle wider to include the least, last, and lost. Those people who don’t fit out ideal and those people who frustrate us. Those people who “get” church and those people who don’t. We need to draw the circle wide enough to include the people we agree with and the people we disagree with, young, old, shy, outgoing, loud, and quiet.
This is hard. Praying for the people who irritate, upset, or anger you is hard. Knowing that they are part of the body of Christ is hard. But it is what we are called to do.
How are you drawing the circle wider in your community?