I have to admit I was skeptical when our bishopric announced that our ward choir would be participating in the Christmas program of our local Seventh Day Adventist congregation, and then they'd join us for ours. It seemed like a strange arrangement to me. Wouldn't we Mormons feel out of place in the program of another Christian faith? And wouldn't they feel kind of weird at ours?
Well, the Seventh Day Adventist program was last weekend. (A nice thing about the arrangement is that since their Sabbath is on Saturday, and ours is on Sunday, neither of us has to miss our own services.) And I have to say it was a marvelous experience.
Regardless of any doctrinal differences we may have (which were never brought up), we share a common love of the Savior and a desire to celebrate the glory of His birth. A couple of the songs they chose were ones that we wouldn't use in our sacrament meetings, like a medley of songs including "Go Tell It On the Mountain." But, to be honest, it was pretty fun to get to sing them. That we wouldn't sing them in sacrament meeting doesn't mean they aren't good songs; it just means that we're very selective regarding the music that we use in sacrament meeting because it is a sacred service.
The Seventh Day Adventists welcomed us with open arms. They were so kind and accomodating. After the dress rehearsal they invited us to stay for cookies and drinks. There was a big coffee dispenser, but there was also a big jug of milk for the Mormons. As we waited out in the foyer at the beginning of their service, before the choir performance, the lady I was standing next to explained to me what was going on in the chapel. I was grateful for her instruction.
I think my favorite part of the event was being able to raise my voice in song with these fine brothers and sisters and sing of our Savior's birth. Now our ward choir is pretty miraculous, to say the least, but there is nothing like being able to sing with a larger number of musicians and fill the room with music -- with the singing of praises to our Lord.
Our new friends will be joining us for our program during sacrament meeting on Sunday. I hope we'll be as welcoming of them as they were of us. And I hope they'll be able to feel the Spirit there. We'll be singing a few of the songs we sang at the Seventh Day Adventists' church, as well as a couple of other selections from our own hymn book. It should be another marvelous experience. What a great way to celebrate Christmas!