Celle was beautiful, though. Most of the buildings were half-timbered houses, so it looked very “German.” I’m usually annoyed when I see half-timbered houses in The States and I expected not to like them here, but for some reason I quite enjoyed walking down the streets of Celle. The city had cute cobblestone streets, and a nice fountain in the square, in which kids would play. Also, there were a lot of street vendors. One interesting vendor was a man making ballon animals and hats for kids.
I ate some delicious kiwi gelato with my choir director.
I also had a wonderful Skype conversation with some friends and family from back home. I was beginning to feel a bit homesick, so video chatting with them were wonderful.
After a night in Celle, we traveled to Weimar for a concert. The choir was tired, and most of us were not motivated at all to sing our repertoire. One of the reasons for this was probably because of the fact that we didn’t know anyone in the area. You see, one of the things that made Bad Hamburg and Föhr so powerful is that we got to know and love the people in those cities. We were pretty much just plopped in the middle of Weimar and expected to give an amazing concert.
What made everything worse is that the audience was pretty much dead in the church. They very well could have been marble statues in the pews. We walked up on the risers to silence, received mild applause after our songs, and not a single smile in the first set.
We tried so hard to bring some life into the audience. When we walked to the back of the church for our first regrouping, we were somewhat discouraged, but we were still ready to try. We went back up to our risers, we sang the favorite song of most of the choir members, called I Thank You God for Most this Amazing Day. As worshipfully as I sang, I still felt like there was no way to turn this audience around.
And then I saw a smile open up on someone’s face. And then another. And another.
As the songs went on, more and more people smiled and clapped louder for us. By the end the audience was cheering and standing on their feet, enough that we had to come back out for an encore.
One song that we sing based on a poem by Susan Palo Cherwein. The words are:
My veins the sea
Your tears the sea
If we but knew
Here together, apart
To water the earth,
To wear away stone,
To meet, to carry, to be changed
If we but knew
Here, to seek the low place
Here, to run to the sea.
There’s something about the Spirit of God that is able to melt cold hearts and bring light to darkness. Something that is so interesting to me is that Europe has so many beautiful churches, yet they are all empty. And those people who are in the churches tend to be very rigid in their beliefs and not open to spiritual transformation. But when they are exposed to true worship of the Living God, the true Spirit of Love, the earth becomes watered with joy, and stone is slowly but surely worn away. I’ve never seen such beauty as Love, which has the power to transform and bring rebirth.
God is Love.