There is a great delight in just hearing the voices of other people raised with ours- doing something collectively. But there is also something particularly powerful about what we are doing- a shout of praise and thanks.
Not everyone will think of these brief demonstrations as acts of worship, but I think they are- profound thanks TO those who care for us, but also profound thanks FOR those who care for us. Thanks too that we can express ourselves as a community. Thanks that we can hear our neighbours and know we are not alone. We praise God- or to use the Hebrew word we offer our “Alleluia”. Thankfulness- even in difficult times, really does do us good.One of the Psalms set for today’s morning prayer (Psalm 147) says this:
“Alleluia! How good it is to make music for our God, how joyful to honour him with praise!”
How do we express that thanks? Even in difficult and depressing times we can have our hearts and spirits lifted by singing, or just by hearing the music we love. We all know how quickly a piece of favourite music can change our mood for the better- or give us permission for a good cry if that is what we most need.
People of all faiths have used song for centuries to find consolation and strength.
We may not sing the psalms quite as we used to, but we will all have favourite hymns and songs which cheer us on our way, remind us of God’s goodness, and carry us back to times when we have been in a different emotional space than the one we may currently feel “stuck” in.
Worshipping and giving thanks through music will always move us to a place which is further from fear, further from self pity, further from despair. And if we are absolutely in the depths, music can help us express our sadness in ways which are healing and hopeful.
Today, wherever you are, find some time to choose a piece of music- a song, a psalm or a hymn which frees up in you that sense of praise and thankfulness which lifts your heart and frees your spirit.
And if you’re struggling today, please know that you are not alone- and get in touch. My prayer for each of you today is that you will know the joy of God’s love surrounding you and the peace of Christ’s presence.