Keep on singing!
This is the start of week 8 of lockdown – and we are blessed each morning by the contributions of different members of our community who have written, shared songs, prayers and ‘sung out’ the messages of God’s love and faithfulness far and wide through email, social media, website and print. Thank you for your patience as we are still learning. There was a problem with yesterday’s zoom link – yet a good number of folk still managed to join us for a virtual coffee!
It is, of course, Christian Aid Week, the theme of yesterday’s service which people remarked yesterday, had a wonderful international flavour. We are hugely grateful to all who have donated to the Bro Celynnin Christian Aid appeal, which you can access here.
Today’s reflection comes from Reverend Susan Blagden as she starts us off on another week – as Chris Roberts did last Monday – on the subject of singing our praises. She makes reference to the UK Blessing – a worship song that has now been viewed over 2 million times! Perhaps, this week, in our prayers for the world, we might also use the South African version of the same song: click here to hear it.
St. Augustine of Hippo
Dewch, gadewch i ni ganu’n llawen i’r Arglwydd,
a gweiddi’n mawl i’r Graig sy’n ein hachub!
Gadewch i ni fynd ato yn llawn diolch;
gweiddi’n uchel a chanu mawl iddo!
Salm 95: 1-2
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95: 1-2
Reverend Susan Blagden writes:
These two verses are the second and third sentences that signal the start of the day in most monasteries and convents and in Anglican Morning Prayer. The injunction is to sing! I’ve noticed this week that singing has been happening in all sorts of places. It started last Sunday morning with a sunrise walk accompanied by the song thrush pictured, singing its heart out. Then I heard of friends organising the NHS Choir-19, and orchestra. This was followed on Sunday evening by the very powerful video of the UK Prayer of Blessing sung over the four nations of the UK: click here to hear it. On Monday I chatted with a friend who had been immersing herself in worship music and noticed the strength and purpose this was giving back to her life. We also had Chris Roberts sharing with us in these reflections the importance of singing to strengthen our faith, to receive again into our souls words of hope and comfort.
However, you may well be asking ‘Why might I sing when life is this tough?’ It’s a valid question. Yet even at a basic physiological level, singing is good for us. It is physical exercise that releases those feel-good endorphins in our blood. It is also good for our mental health partly because the rhythm calms our breathing. It helps to stop those anxious thoughts from flying around endlessly in our heads. It can help to combat isolation, and technology is showing us just what is possible.
But there are more reasons to sing for those of us who are people of faith. Singing hymns and worship songs may provide comfort for our own circumstances. It can also be a way of interceding for others. I found myself singing: ‘Restore O Lord the honour of your name’ as I walked the lanes by home and saw the restoration work that is going on literally in our fields. The worship song speaks of mercy and hope. Then singing songs of praise also lifts our spirits. It takes our eyes off the detail of our lives and reminds us that ultimately the source of our life is in God who IS the rock who saves us. Singing is finally an act of prophecy because it proclaims hope. Thomas Hardy wrote about this when describing the thrush who breaks suddenly into his “full-hearted evensong of joy unlimited”. In the bird’s song there is “Some blessed hope, whereof he knew, And I was unaware.”
So may we sing each day with full-hearts. I invite us all to go and sing the hymn/song/chant that helps you express praise for God; one that helps you make confession; one that draws you to sing words of faith, healing, strength for others, and finally then, to sing your prayers of blessing over the land and the people we connect with each day.
Prayer / Gweddi
Grant that what we sing with our lips
we may believe in our hearts,
and what we believe in our hearts
we may show forth in our lives.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Cyflwynwn ein hunain,
a phawb y gweddïwn drostynt,
i drugaredd a nodded Duw.
Let us commend ourselves,
and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.
Click here for Daily Reflections
Click here for Bro Celynnin Videos