Singing together! Remember when we used to do this heartily, lustily, putting our entire bodies into the act as the Spirit would flow through us in soul-stirring praise of God? Remember how the risen Christ became vividly present among us through this very human act? How singing knit us together, all those in the room, in a way that was beyond human understanding, as our voices joined those of the heavenly choirs whose song is always going on? How we emerged from the experience with our faith deepened and our hope strengthened? How those tunes and snippets of text,would follow us through our week, or maybe our lifetime? “….strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow….”
In my experience, for the past two years that joy had become only a memory, as we either didn’t sing at all or mumbled beneath our face masks…until Betty Murray’s memorial service at Grace yesterday (January 23).
Family and friends of Betty’s who gathered still wore masks, of course, but from the very first hymn led by our Minister of Music, Kevin Freaney, it was clear that something extraordinary was happening. Following Kevin’s sensitive leadership, we sang as if we were a well-rehearsed choir, reverently, joyfully, prayerfully, exuberantly, in harmony even, sinking into the familiar tunes and texts as if they were the very substance of life itself–because as we all knew, for Betty they were.
You can watch the livestream here, and view the bulletin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulmkQmktZ_Y
We trust that with our high ceilings, wide worship space and good circulation that the experience was not only fulfilling but safe. It renews our hope that the time WILL come when we can take our face coverings off and sing freely. Until then, I will be giving thanks for the life-giving reminder that we had at Betty’s service of how indispensable singing is to our life of discipleship. The familiar saying really is true: Those who sing pray twice.