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What do you think about musical presentations in novel form in public places? On November 13, unbeknownst to the denizens of the shops and stores, members of Chorus Niagara scattered themselves about the Food Court of the Seaway Mall in Welland, Ontario. Several members of CRCs in St. Catharines sing in this chorus. Some crafty (and I hope legal) camera and sound work captured this marvelous happening:


This is not Muzak! It is my early and free (just like the Gospel!!) Christmas gift to Networkers. On Youtube this video has in a short week picked up more than half-a-million hits. I guess there are different ways to get the message of Messiah across. Hum, sing along and praise God for the gift of Jesus.


That is a sweet video. I've seen it all over Facebook. There's another one by Random Acts of Culture -- opera done in Macy's in NYC and other department stores.
But what a great way to bring the Messiah to a community who may otherwise not here it.

I wish I had a mall here, but alas we have to buy most of our gifts online... I do hum hymns and carols while I shop at the local City Market. I go to Wallmart only when I have no choice and do the same.

On a related note, check out Marcel's recent article in the Youth Ministry network where he gives 15 suggestions for youth groups to spread some Christmas cheer - including random acts of culture!

And, if you haven't seen this one already, here's a fun video of the Sound of Music coming to the Antwerp train station:


Looks like it's up to 4 million views! Wow, that's rivaling the Macy's Philadelphia one.

OK! How many THOUSANDS of views can we get from Network??!!

This gives me goosebumps every time!  I like to think it's a foretaste of heaven, when the community of Jesus breaks out into song any time anywhere, and Holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and every pot will be holy to the Lord, and every mall and food court will be a holy place of singing and fellowship.

Thanks for posting this.  I was moved to tears.  I think we sometimes have a much too narrow interpretation of what would characterize "signs and wonders" that are spoken of in scripture.  I think in today's world this happening certainly qualifies!

A week later, it's up to 13 million and has been the #1 YouTube video in the past week. Amazing.

Here's a news story about what it's meant for the chorus and the community.

This is going to be a rather "Bah-humbug" comment for something I enjoyed viewing as well. But here's some grist for the discernment mill, from Jamie Smith:

"So what to make of these irruptions of the Messiah in the food court? How should we think about these insertions of the church's music in the mall? Does this represent a little "redemption" of the mall, a reorientation of the mall's liturgies?

I don't think so. For at least a couple of reasons.

First, while we might associate this with "liturgical," high-churchy music, in these flash mob performances it only functions as an event. Liturgies are formative precisely because they are repetitive, shaping us over time within the context of the Christian story as it is "carried" in the practices of worship. Too much of North American evangelicalism already thinks of worship as merely an expressive event, and these flash mob events do nothing to displace that.

Second, these irruptive events do nothing to counter the formative effects and disordered telos of the mall's consumerism. Indeed if anything, they provide comfort to such practices--injecting a little dose of transcendence into the frantic pursuit for stuff, thus leaving the shoppers to happily continue on their way after the event."    (Read the rest here)

So is this being Scrooge or simply being shrewd (ala. Matt. 10:14)?

It's an event, not a liturgy, and therefore not formative.   

It supports the mall's culture instead of reforming it.

With these arguments, Smith dismisses the mall Messiah.   And I called it a foretaste of heaven! 

I wonder if critiquing it in terms of whether it's a liturgy is quite fair.   Granted the concerns Smith raises, yet I think he's a bit too humbuggy.  I want to leave room for the occasional one-time, unique prophetic event.  The symbolic.  The impact of the one burning bush you'll ever see (or recognize).   

Could it be that in spite of its shortfalls, it could work as a sign? Could it still function in some redemptive way?   Bringing genuine beauty into the front lines of the fray?  Bringing a moment of contemplation to the midst of the chaos?    don't sell it short.

Actually, as much as I appreciate much of what Jamie Smith has to say his recent comments on the Messiah in the mall are not included. I say we can sometimes be too critical about such things. 

I think we should just be able appreciate it.  If it moves you to tears or makes you smile and feel a bit more alive in the moment isn't that what well done art does?  Being too critical can rob one of enjoying the moment.

I never consider whether it was a liturgical thing or not.  I just thought it was cool and wonderful to enjoy.

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