Jesus took bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples. Then he took a cup, gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. When they had sung a hymn, they went out…
- Mark 14:22-26, excerpts
Any of us that grew up on “Sesame Street” will remember a song that was often sung on the program: “Sing...sing a song...sing out loud...sing out strong…..” The words speak of some fundamental truths for all of us: singing of happy, not sad; of good things, not bad, and not worrying about whether that song is good enough, sung beautifully enough, for anyone else to hear it. Just sing….for we must.
Jesus sang a song with his closest friends the night he knew that something horrible was about to happen to him. In the history of our humanity, we have sung songs in the worst and most dire moments, under the worst of circumstances as well as in our times of joy and celebration.
What is it about singing, if only to ourselves, that grants us some semblance of strength and hope to move forward when we may feel we don’t have the strength to do so? How many songs have emerged from our worst times in history that not only reflect the struggle, but also the hope that there is a better horizon yet ahead of us? Whether it's alone in the car, in the shower, vacuuming the house or folding the laundry, what is it about singing to ourselves that can be calming, can soothe our anxious hearts and bring us restoration?
Similarly, what is it about singing together that elevates us, transports us and grants us a sense of strength and unity when we sing in one voice?
I have often said, as one who has been singing since my earliest memory, that worship needs no spoken words because of the power of music; particularly of singing. If we sang every bit of our liturgy, I think no one would mind or miss the talking. Songs often make the best sermons.
In these days of such turbulence and uncertainty, what songs are you singing? What is the music you turn to that brings you hope, stability, and solace when the world seems to be going mad?
Like Jesus, when we’re heading into the very abyss of darkness, we sing. Don’t worry if it isn’t good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing your song.
God Of Song, thank you for the music that strengthens and heals us.