The Flame of the Holy Spirit
As many of you know, the Canterbury and St. David Choirs will be traveling on their European tour July 20 to August 6, 2019. The Canterbury Choir will be singing in Canterbury and London, England, for the International Children’s Choir Festival, and then they will join the St. David Men’s Choir in Paris on July 27. What you may not know is that these choirs were scheduled to sing mass at Notre-Dame of Paris on July 28.
Plans to sing at Notre-Dame began more than a year ago when a couple of choir parents suggested that it would be a wonderful experience for the children to sing there. The parents and I collected our best recordings to submit to Notre-Dame with our application, and we were elated when we were invited to sing there this summer. Therefore, we all mourned with the rest of the world when we heard that Notre-Dame was burning on April 15, but in our own special way. This was a tragedy for the world and a tragedy for the people of Paris, and we prayed for the people of France and especially for those who worship at Notre-Dame. Yet, we could not help being aware of the fact that the children had lost the unique opportunity of singing at this cathedral.
The day after the fire, we began to reach out to other churches in Paris where our children could sing for a service. Although we were anxious, we knew that God was with us, and he would provide a place for us to sing, worship, and spread the Gospel in Paris. As the words of one of our favorite anthems, “Do Not Be Afraid” by Philip Stopford, states, “Do not be afraid. For I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.” We knew that no matter what happened, God would be with us, both as we travel and serve him on our tour and in our daily lives at home.
After two weeks of waiting, we were invited to sing at Saint-Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame. We accepted immediately. The next day we found out that we were also invited to sing at Saint-Roch and Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux.
Another quote from “Do Not Be Afraid” is, “When the fire is burning all around you, you will never be consumed by the flames.” Notre-Dame was not consumed by the flames, at least not completely, but much work must be done to the structure to save it from destruction. We ask that you pray for France and Europe, that a different flame, the fire of the Holy Spirit, will be ignited in the hearts of the people.
The Canterbury and St. David choirs will do their best to spread the word of the Lord through beautiful music and meaningful texts everywhere that they go.