We really are now well into Spring and we start another week. Andrew Keast from the Christian Faith Community shares his thought on, well read more, and you’ll find out ….
Something I never knew before preparing this thought for the week was that in some Christian calendars the fifth Sunday of Easter (24 April this year) is called Cantate Sunday, or Sing-Song Sunday. Sermons used to be preached in some places about the importance of music and singing in church.
In our house I cannot imagine not having the radio, Ipod or CD player on with a wonderful variety of music wafting its way round the place. Music both inspires our feelings and reflects them so much of the time. Tolstoy called it “the shorthand of emotion” and Bono said music could change the world because it can change people.
Music in religion is clearly important too, and only a few forms of religion have none at all. It can express and provoke religious feelings like wonder, praise and joy; it can inspire or create a sense of prayer, of a reality beyond this world, of God. Singing together can bring joy to the soul for the individual and create a communal spirit too. Heart Research UK have evidence that singing is not only good for the heart but reduces stress and anxiety. No wonder Thomas Carlyle said “music is the speech of angels”.
Sometimes, though, it is the very power of music that can lead to suspicion of it in some quarters – as if it might take something away from the intellectual purity of the word, or put at risk the clarity of meditation or prayer, or distort the balance and harmony of the spirit.
Perhaps like every gift, music can be used well or abused. Whatever our tradition – whether Wesley singing Methodists or quiet Quakers or anything in between – we might think about the power of the music we hear, and enjoy what we can from it. Harmony of sound is a part of God’s creation, which we can both use and enjoy to his glory.
From a Musician’s prayer:
O Lord, bless this music that it might glorify your name. Let this music be a witness to your majesty and love. May your Spirit guide us through every measure so that we might be the instruments of your peace, and proclaim your glory with glad voices. Amen