A MOMENT TO REFLECT

24 June 2020

A Moment to Reflect -50

Singing in Ghana, 2011

Yesterday I wrote about making preparations to enable our church buildings to be opened at some point in the near future for individual prayer and reflection—albeit with several restrictions and precautions in place.

In England, services of shared worship are also now being permitted, though here too there will continue to be restrictions. In particular “there will be no singing.” 

I can’t imagine Christian worship without singing. And not just because I’ve always enjoyed singing. The tradition of singing hymns and songs is one that goes right back to the very beginnings of Christianity. (And centuries before in Judaism, if you think of the Psalms.) Take, for example, this story of the apostles Paul and Silas in the Book of Acts.

“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” [Acts 16:22-26]

I guess you might call that a performance that brought the roof down! 

But talking of singing… as I’m writing this, I am having to wipe away a tear or two from my eyes. I’ve just watched Gareth Malone’s “Singing for Britain” programme on BBC2. If you haven’t seen it… I think you should. (It will be available on iPlayer for a year.)

Working remotely with frontline health service and care workers in different parts of the country, Gareth helps William, a Care Worker from Hamilton, Sarah, a Junior Doctor from Cardiff and Hannah, a Critical Care Nurse from Cambridge, to write songs about their experience and then perform them. It was very moving. I don’t want to give any ‘spoilers’ about either the songs or the singers and their stories but I don’t think you’ll find many better illustrations of this insight from the writings of the novelist, Sebastian Faulkes.

“The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings which normally we keep locked up in the heart.” ― Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War.

So, never mind who’s listening… at some point today why not let go of your inhibitions …and SING!

This might get you started…