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Typically, after the engagement, the first task to get married is to go to the church and reserve a date and time. Once that has been established the engaged can then send out the invitations and rent a reception hall. But that is not how the Jews did it in the time of Christ. This is how it worked.  After the engagement, the future groom would go to his father and tell him that he would be getting married. The father would then start to build an extra room for the household. When the room was almost done the son would ask the father if he could get his bride, marry, and move into the room. “I am not done yet, I have to tile the bathroom,” the father would say. When he was finished with the lodging, he would tell the son he could move in and that would be the day of the wedding. The son would then find all his friends and they would grab their musical instruments and form a marching band with the loudest instruments including trumpets, harps, kettle drums, and cymbals. They would sing and play their instruments as they entered the village of the bride. All the engaged girls wonder if it was their guy when they would hear the music. The groom would arrive at the bride’s house and brings her to his father’s house. The band would follow. Of course, the entire village would follow the music to the wedding and the celebration would begin. The entire marriage was communicated and directed by music, no invitations, no dates, no timetable needed.

Marriages are not the only events that use music. The Temple in Jerusalem was set on a hill. People would go there at the feast and celebrate with loud music. The villages and nations would hear the sound and wonder what was going on over there in Judah. The music and joy would draw them. Once there, the nations would ask the Israelites why they were so happy. They would hear a response something like this: “God is why we are happy. God blesses us. We have the greatest army in the world. We do not even need walls around our city because He protects us. We have abundant food and rich soil; our economy is rich. We are basking in abundance because of God. So much that we are able to take the extra that God gives us and share it with those who do not have. There are no poor people in our nation.” So the other nations respond, “We want to be a part of this as well.” And that is how God is known in the world. Our job is to sing God’s praises because he has blessed us. People will want to be a part of the blessings. Music draws people to God. Why am I saying all of this?

The first reading is from Zephaniah. He wrote three sets of poems. The last poem is the best because he reports that all the nations will all be drawn to Jerusalem because of the singing. But, we are not doing the singing. God is singing. When I hear this reading I always wonder if God is a tenor or a baritone. Perhaps He is a chorus, after all, He is God. I am sure His singing is as beautiful as His sunsets, or His mountain ranges after a snowfall. When God sings, all of us will stop whatever we are doing to hear it. And we will ask, Why is God so happy? God will tell us if we listen to His voice.

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