(By Tim Ridgway)
In 1649, Oliver Cromwell and the Parliament managed to ban the singing of Christmas carols for about ten years, but in 2020, it has only taken a strand of RNA wrapped in a shell 125 nanometres in size, to bring all singing together in church, to an abrupt halt.
I appreciate that for some, singing in praise and in worship is difficult. Not everyone has a voice that they would consider tuneful – not that God minds! – and some really struggle to enjoy singing in a group at all.
For many though, including myself, singing is part of life. It can be liberating; a tremendous way of expressing how we feel. It can allow God to lift our spirits, whilst we ‘make a joyful noise’ to Him… and it blesses Him as well as us.
It is still astonishing to me that we can bless our Creator, but when singing with a heart open to Him, that is exactly what we do.
There is worship, there is praise, and among the very many Christian songs, hymns and choruses, that have been written over the centuries, there are some that take passages from the Bible and put them to music. I love these especially, because they are a great way of learning pieces of the Bible without trying!
John Michael Talbot amongst others, is well known for putting scripture to song and even now I am reminded of a song by Bryn Haworth from well over thirty years ago that comes back to me. The words are inspired by Revelation chapter 21.
I saw a new heaven and earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away. And the sea was no more and night fled before eternal day. Behold the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them and they shall be His people. And God will be with them to wipe every tear from their eyes…
Behold I make all things new, I’m trusted and true it is done. The beginning and end, Saviour and friend, I will come. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, and God will be with them, to wipe every tear from their eyes.
Beautiful words of promise.
We may not be able to sing with each other yet , but we can still shout aloud to God, praise Jesus, welcome the Holy Spirit, within the confines of whatever group or bubble in which we now find ourselves; and we can search for and learn new songs (thank you, Lord, for the internet) and perhaps we can even get to know our Bibles better through some of them.