Bringing the Text to Life

Happy Birthday to You, Church! Acts 2:1-21

Happy Birthday to You, Church!

The church is right where it should be: in the public domain.

At a Glance

Last fall, a legal ruling placed the well-known birthday ditty "Happy Birthday to You" in the public domain. Restaurants wait staffs can now embarrass us by singing "Happy Birthday" without paying a royalty to the former copyright holder. Since Pentecost is widely regarded as the birthday of the church, we thought it was time to say "Happy Birthday to You"!

Editors' Pick

For material based on today's epistle text, see "The Church's Greatest Art Treasures," May 31, 1998, at

One of the unintended consequences of the electronics revolution -- the smartphones we carry around with us (and even before that, our CD and record players) -- is that communal singing is on the wane.

There was a time -- the oldest among us can remember it -- when the heart of many social gatherings was a sing-along around a piano. There was a corpus of common tunes most everybody knew -- folk songs, show tunes and even the occasional hymn....

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