Mar 31 , 2020

Entertainment Is Alive In Van Wert: ONWARD!


by Tafi Stober

We are presently in a battle. Our health care workers are on the front lines. Supporting the fight (for those of us on the sidelines) looks and feels like helpless inactivity. But if you look closely at the windows of homes, vibrantly colored hearts are lovingly painted on windows and creatively displayed by many encouragers of all ages throughout the region. Prayers are being raised on their behalf and isolation is the supportive means to lighten the load on our medical warriors. As an aggressive nation ready to take action at the first sign of threat, a submissive response is quite counter-culture. And yet, we adapt. Those who successfully overcome a challenge are those who are agile, flexible and fiercely committed to shining a light in a dark-day.

Does a light shine in isolation? Thanks to the technology of today, it certainly can AND it can be audible! The arts as a form of self-expression can be used to uplift and increase hope during trying times. Check out the Niswonger Performing Arts Center Facebook Page for daily encouragement. We can also take a cue from the past. At times of great conflict, music by way of hymn or anthem provided a unified battle cry. Although the two terms anthem and hymn both refer to a song, there is a distinct difference between them. A hymn is a religious song of praise to God whereas an anthem is an uplifting song that symbolizes a particular group or cause. In this time of battle, the hymn "Onward Christian Soldier" seems to fit both descriptions.

Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see, His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus, going on before.

At the name of Jesus Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!
Hell’s foundations' quiver, At the shout of praise:
Brothers, lift your voices, Loud your anthems raise!

Like a mighty army, moves the Church of God:
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod;
We are not divided, All one Body we—
One in faith and Spirit, one eternally.

Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane;
But the Church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ’gainst the Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, which can never fail.

Onward, then, ye people! Join our happy throng;
Blend with ours your voices In the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ, the King;
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

So let us use our voice as our fearless weapon: Sing from the top of the steps; sing out an open window; lift voices from the basement; whisper it while working; sing it loud in the shower. This anthem is raised as a collective cry to encourage those who are on the frontlines - as a prayer for their protection and a unified overcoming hope in the blessings to come for us all. Prosperity will prevail with a purpose of heart, a positivity of message, a practice of patience and a passion to provide encouragement where it is needed the most. Onward with a song in our hearts.

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