Leave our denominations at the door.

Can’t you just hear Jen Randall saying that? Oh wait. She did say it as part of her introduction at the first rehearsal of the Lamb of God choir.

“What brings us together is a shared love of beautiful music and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. I encourage you to focus on our shared love of the Savior rather than bring any doctrinal differences into your conversations. Let’s leave our denominations at the door so we can come together as disciples of Christ.  

“The Lord tells us in Matthew (10:20) that where two or three gather in His name, He will be in the midst of them. In this room, let’s put aside our differences and let our unity of faith be an open invitation to the Holy Spirit to come into our midst.”

According to Jen, the purpose of Lamb of God Kalamazoo is to give the entire community an opportunity come together to share faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, strengthen individual testimonies and bring others unto Him.  
 
“I feel this music and our ability to come together allows us to reach more people with the beautiful message contained in the music.  There is hope and that hope is found through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.”

Lamb of God is not sponsored by any church. All ticket sales, CD sales, program sales, donations, etc, will go toward funding next year’s performance, with hopes to pay it forward each year.  
  
The more than 200 performers in the choir and orchestra represent 44 Kalamazoo-area churches. There are also performers from the Kalamazoo Symphony, Kalamazoo Philharmonia, the Junior Symphony, WMU Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Concert Band, Western Winds, MSU Concert Orchestra, US Army Band, Sturgis Wind Symphony, Calvin Community Orchestra, LaPorte Symphony, the Singing Crusaders, Homeschool Performing Arts, WMU, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Mall Harmonizers, Kalamazoo Gospel Fest Choir, Kalamazoo Men’s Chorus, Paw Paw Community Choir and Farmers Alley Theatre.

Orchestra and choir members run the gamut from professional musicians and teachers to students, housewives and people who simply love to sing. A look at the experience levels, backgrounds and occupations of the participants is a window into the rich diversity of our area.

Counted among the combined orchestra and choir are representatives of these fields or occupations—software designers, administrative professionals, private music teachers, librarians, public school personnel, social workers, accountants, quality systems representatives, attorneys, computer programmers, business owners, salesmen, marketers, broadcasters, environmental consultants, hair designers, landscape managers, software engineers, disability advocates, health care workers, probation officers, human resources managers, IT professionals, mechanical contractors, veterinary toxicologists, homemakers, photographers, insurance professionals, truck drivers, engineers and educators. Whew!

Nearly four dozen churches is pretty substantial proof that Lamb of God Kalamazoo is truly an interfaith effort that has generated lots of attention, anticipation and unbridled optimism. You need only listen to choir and orchestra members to get a sense that Lamb of God is strumming a responsive chord.

Says one choir member: “I have really enjoyed seeing people from my past, from my allergist to my grade school music teacher. Also, being a part of such a large group of believers is such an encouragement. And have you heard the men sing?! I mean, oh my word. It gives me goose bumps.” A singer from the Grand Rapids area adds, “. . . despite religious differences, we’re all praising the same Lord and Savior.”

A choir member from the St. Joseph area likely spoke for many with these words. “I was amazed by the spirit of unity in Christ I have felt during rehearsals, shoulder to shoulder with people I’ve never met before. I immediately felt a kinship with them as we sang together about the final week of the Savior’s life.”

Members of the orchestra echo the same sentiments. Says one: “Having rehearsals on Sundays fills my soul. It’s a great way to close out a day of rest and get my head in the right place for the week ahead. . . . I enjoy coming together with people from various branches of Christian faith to do something beautiful.”

A young musician still in high school says, “I love the unity between faiths. With the Lamb of God as a medium, we are all able to express our love of God and devotion to Him, regardless of religion.”

We’ll end with these words from an orchestra member who is (happily) overwhelmed by Lamb of God: “I love the beautiful lyrics set to some of the most amazing music I have ever performed. . . . I look forward to this history-making performance and feel honored to be able to participate. My stand mate and I discussed how awesome it would be to live in Handel’s time and play the Messiah. The fact is we live in a time when master composers are creating just as noteworthy compositions. Thank you for allowing me to perform in an oratorio filled with angels.”