Thought for the week, 3 February; Singing

Many years ago, I used to attend a church in Finchley in London. One Sunday, the vicar, Pat Brock, preached on the valley of the dry bones; the prophet Ezekiel has a vision of a valley full of scattered human bones that miraculously come together to become again living people. Pat was a marvellous preacher and he finished his vivid description of this with a detail of his own; “I know, that once it had happened, there would be singing”. Pat was drawing on his own experience as a soldier in the “Desert Rats”, the 8th army that fought in North Africa in the Second World War. He had been in the great battles, for four days he had been adrift in boat, escaping the advancing German army. Pat knew how people respond to crisis, death and danger. Snging is an important part of that; it releases emotions, binds us to others. Through the music, it communicates in ways that spoken words alone cannot, it connects those singing. There is no such thing as a person who cannot sing; some may be better able to hold a tune than others, but we all can make our own music when we open our mouths and that is precious.

We sing hymns in church for a reason. There have been many services where the only thing that has spoken to me has been the hymns. We of course, do not need to go to church to sing; just go to a football match to see the power of singing. And in church, we do not restrict singing to services. Some churches host community choirs, where people can sing all kinds of music, simply for the joy of singing. In our local churches, we have the Daddy’s Hat events. From Spring to Autumn, usually on the 3rd Saturday of the month, for an hour from 3pm, local musicians will come to one of our churches to perform. They do so for the joy of making music. And at all those events, we sing together; it may be a hymn, something from Leonard Cohen or the sounds of sixties; it has even been “Just one cornetto”. It really does matter. It uplifts all of us who take part. Just sing.