No Singing Aloud
Every January I look forward to re-joining the choir where I am a member. We only rehearse weekly from January to May and then give a concert for friends and family. Come November I’m eager to begin rehearsals with the small HTR choir for the carol service.
Of course, since last March there have sadly been no choirs to join and I have missed them terribly.
Before HTR re-opened briefly for services last summer, the congregation was asked what we had most missed about real church and I know that singing together came out top. We each worship in different ways but singing is probably our most public and communal means of praise, it’s the way we collectively honour God. Without it there is definitely something lacking in life.
We are told the act of singing releases endorphins. These are little chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. They are believed to reduce pain, increase pleasure and enhance a feeling of well-being.
And how about what we sing? For Christians many of our old hymns are beautifully crafted poetic verses of praise about God, about joy and about salvation. The Bible has an entire book of songs written by King David. But it’s not just “The Lord is my Shepherd” ….. lots of our hymns contain lines that are lifted from scripture. A rousing rendition of “Great is thy faithfulness” will have you quoting from Genesis and Lamentations.
Many modern evangelical songs we sing are equally biblical in their roots. Songster Matt Redman, in perhaps his best-known song “10,000 Reasons,” draws directly from the Psalms.
Thinking about the works I have performed with my choir, Handel’s Messiah is based largely on Isaiah, the Psalms and Corinthians; Haydn’s Creation is of course drawn from Genesis, as well as Psalms.
So, as we approach the anniversary of lockdown in the UK and almost a year without proper musical worship in church, it’s not just the people I’m missing but the chance to sing out, to sing loudly and to sing our praises to God.
The lyrics from “My Jesus, my Saviour” sum up what singing in church should be about:
“Shout to the Lord all the Earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name”