From the publisher | April 27, 2023


Headphones with a blurry background
Photo by Alphacolor on

Driving 200 miles straight south allows you to see the change of seasons in fast-forward. The trees were mostly bare at the beginning of an April trip, but a few hours later they were tinged with green—the landscape growing more verdant as the miles sped by. For someone starting out in the chilly North, this was a welcome way to jump-start spring.

On this trip, I had another reminder of spring: I was introduced to the board game Wingspan, a primer on birds, their habitats, what they eat, where they nest, and how many eggs they can lay—with amassing points the main goal.

I learned that there are multiple Spotify playlists that people have created to listen to while they play this game. One playlist had the word “bird” or the name of a bird in the title of each song. Another simply had birds somewhere in the lyrics. (One had no lyrics, but plenty of chirps and bird calls.) You can probably guess some of the songs or come up with ideas for your own list.

Did you know that there’s also a music playlist for each issue of Messenger? This accompaniment to the magazine was launched at the beginning of last year by Jan Fischer Bachman, who’s in charge of the Church of the Brethren website (and also a violinist).

Each month Jan recruits a volunteer curator who creates a unique collection inspired by the themes found in that particular issue. Every playlist has a different feel since curators each bring their own take to the project.

The rest of us are curators too; we also have our own take on the themes we read. What are the motifs in the playlists of our lives? What is the music that other people hear?

“God, our God, the world’s composer, hear us, echoes of your voice,” writes Shirley Erena Murray, in her hymn “For the Music of Creation.” What a holy opportunity to be part of God’s “harmony of earth and heaven.”

Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press and Communications for the Church of the Brethren.