Hey, everybody! My name is Thomas Baucom, and I’m the board chair for the Board of World Missions at the Moravian Church here in North America, and I want to welcome you to beautiful Pittsboro here on a nice fall day.
You know, I’m a musician at heart, right, and so a lot of times that I see and hear joy in the world, it’s through music, and the Moravian Church is rich with musical traditions, and that has not stopped. We are still creating music, we are still integrating that into our worship service, and I’m struck by a few examples of when I’ve experienced joy in the mission field as it relates to that music.
My first trip to Sierra Leone: the way the village wakes up is through hand drumming at the church, with songs of praise, songs of Thanksgiving, and yes, it’s early, but the joy of waking up to the sounds of music offered as a prayer is just–it’s invaluable, and I need to remember that, especially these days, as the days start getting shorter–how can I wake up with that same joy?
You know, likewise, if you read The Moravian, I reflected on a time in Nicaragua where all the congregations were getting together for a workshop, and it had been one of those long workshops, just like a long worship service that we’ve all been a part of, and perhaps our energy level wasn’t the highest, and the pastor who was leading the workshop jumped to his feet and led everybody in singing of Joy to the World. And while, I didn’t necessarily understand the language of the words, I understood the tune and I definitely understood the feeling, and that was a feeling of joy. And when we think about that joy, being something that we all sing that same song together– it may be Joy to the World, it may be drumming in the mornings– but we are all part of that, and it’s often hard during these times to figure out what part we’re playing.
We’re not with each other as much as we were. We’re not taking these mission trips. I do think this is a time to be very intentional about singing your song, to be very intentional about spreading joy and happiness in the world, in whatever that looks like in your lane, in your context. That’s how we can start to spread joy–making those intimate connections even though we’re apart. So wherever in the world you are where you’re watching this, I want to thank you, first, for your joy, for your music, for continuing to be a part of our mission together, and I look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks so much.