I grew up listening to my mother sing. She sang with my aunt in parish shows, at church services and at the piano at home. I have in my mind a picture of her in our wonderful deep rocking chair crooning my brother to sleep. (I’m sure she did the same for my sister and me – I just don’t remember it consciously.) One of my most cherished memories was of family “songfests” with my mother and father (who also loved to sing) at our family Christmases in the last decade of their lives. Not our best vocal presentations but captured on cassette tapes, “the Barton Family Singers” sang our hearts out with the simple joy of being together.
It is said that the person who sings prays twice. I know that to be true especially in church services where the music lifts me up and raises my spirit along with my voice in community. I encourage everyone to sing whenever possible and appropriate – even those who in their childhood at school were told by teachers to “mouth the words” because their singing voices were less than stellar. I tell them what I heard long ago: that “God gave you that voice and is waiting for you to give it back.” We are not all divas or soloists in the choir but everyone deserves to feel the freedom and joy that comes with singing. Whether alone in the woods, with a wild crowd at a wedding or in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, my advice is that of the psalmist whose praise rings out this morning calling us all to SING OUT!
Hallelujah! In truth all things sing You! The heights transcendent begin your song. Heaven, teeming with the life of angels, is a chorus singing…Rulers of earth and all of its peoples, kings and queens, presidents and emperors, young men and maidens old and young alike. Let us stand together in a chorus of song, and let the melodies rise from our throats in praise to the One whose beauty and splendor fill heaven and earth. For singing is our strength, and every creature serves only in song. And each child of God is invited near, to the center of the singing forever. Hallelujah! (PS 148:1-2, 11-14, Ancient Songs Sung Anew: The Psalms as Poetry)