Does the news of the day leave you gasping for relief? Do you think that your identity is being sucked away by the culture? Do you hurt for a world that is set up to fail, and you don’t see any answers? Then read on...
Estonia is an country in the Baltic region that for much of it’s history has actually been part of someone else. The list of occupiers is a long one, as they were pawns in power struggles between Vikings, Swedes, Normans, Germanics, and a host of others.
During World War 2, both Hitler and the Russians laid claim to the country, like two bullies fighting over the pretty girl. As a result approximately 25 percent of the population died. The Russians never left after the war.
Their identity has primary been defined by others. Much of their history is marked by occupation and oppression and they’ve rarely been a free people. As a result, they’re not known for their universities, for their innovation or their army. They aren’t known for great food, scientific exploits or their soccer team.
They are known for their voices.
The country of 1.3 million people has more than 700 recognized choirs. Every five years the choirs gather for the Laulupidu, the largest amateur choir assembly in the world. The last four-day festival featured a single piece sung by more than 100,000 voices.
The annual assembly is a long and rich tradition, dating back to 1869.
We won’t back down
After the country was annexed by the Russians, the festival continued but they were forced to sing communist propaganda. But still, they sang.
When the Soviet block began to fold, one nation at a time, the Estonians didn’t gather angry dock workers, freedom fighters, or disaffected military leaders. Instead, they gathered to sing. For five years the sang songs — the banned songs. They sang songs of freedom, of hope, and of God. 100,000’s of thousands gathered across the small country in groups large and small and expressed their heart’s desire, one note at a time. They sang the forbidden lyrics over and over again.
You would think that after all of those years of oppression, that they would be an impoverished people. But they aren’t. They rank among the highest per capita incomes in the world. The IMF calls them an advanced economy, with some of the highest measures in freedom of the press, economic freedom and political freedom.
Those of us who have not had a foreign tank on our soil, who haven’t had our language subverted, our history washed out of books, simply cannot understand true oppression. Yet, still we are in captivity. Our Christian faith, our culture and traditions are slowly being chipped away. We sense everything slipping away.
On some days I don’t think we will ever change culture. We cannot reverse the course of a world heading straight for hell’s gates. But then I hear stories like this, and I want to gather one friend, and then another and another. And together, we will sing the songs of old.
At lunch today, some dear friends were deep in verbal thought, examining just where we would turn for our future. We know it cannot be in politics, nor can it be in pop culture. The economy will crumble, as will our carefully crafted existence. All we are left with is the Rock of Ages. And that is the song that we must sing. This will be our revolution.
Listen to a clip here