In homes across the city Dec. 2, people tuned in to the latest news out of San Bernardino, California.
Fourteen people killed and 17 wounded at a holiday party for county employees. The killers’ motive unclear at the time. Two armed suspects — a husband and wife, parents of a six-month-old daughter — killed by police. The latest in what seems to be an unending cycle of gun violence in the United States and abroad.
The world seemed a dark place.
But even on this night, as an evening chill descended over Poulsbo, beautiful voices sang out with a different message, a message to anyone who thinks violence is a way to resolve conflict, a message to those who fear that senseless violence is to become commonplace in our communities and country.
They sang about a love “whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air” and “Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere.”
This was rehearsal night at Poulsbo’s First Lutheran Church, where dozens of familiar faces — your friends and neighbors — were readying for the Community Christmas Concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 13.
This concert is not a response to the violence of late, but it comes at a time when our community needs it most.
The concert is a traditional event at a church that is steeped in tradition, a source of love and support and spiritual guidance for residents of this community since 1886.
For almost 130 years, Poulsbo First Lutheran has been a safe port in a stormy world — a place where people have been ministered to and lifted up during economic depressions and recessions, wars, and personal and national tragedy.
And today, as violence continues to befall our world, your friends and neighbors again gather at the old white church at 18920 4th Ave. “Though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear,” they sing. “His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure.”
Our mortal lives may end, they sing, but there’s a truth that abideth still, the truth of one whose kingdom is forever.
A variety of songs of the season will be presented at the concert. Featured groups will include the Poulsbo First Lutheran Church Cathedral Choir, the Poulsbo Elementary School Chorus, Vestre Sund Mannskor, and a Vocal Ensemble composed of members of the North Kitsap High School group Vocal Point.
Admission is free, but donations of new unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items will be accepted for North Kitsap Fishline. Coffee, hot cider and cookies will be available in the church social hall following the concert. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m.
Debbie Collier, the church’s choir and music director for 24 years, said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to enjoy an afternoon of songs of the season while helping those in need in our community.”
And it’s an opportunity to be reassured about love and a brighter future: Two things our country, our world, could use right now.
— Richard Walker is editor of the North Kitsap Herald. Contact him at 360-779-4464 or firstname.lastname@example.org