--Sing Lustily and with good courage
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to sing. For me it is quite a spiritual thing. It's as if I can feel something other come from the bottom of my toes and erupt from my mouth. I know that with my singing voice, I can express emotions better than when I am not singing: emotions like happiness, sorrow, and anger. I like singing with others. I like doing solos. I like doing karaoke.
I sometimes like to listen to the radio. I like to sing to my favourite songs, whether they be from Abba, the Carpenters, The Eagles, or what have you. And there are some hymns I just love to sing. "How Great Thou Art" "Spirit Open My Heart" "Silent Night." It is hard not to sing along when those great songs are sung.
With COVID, that all changed. Singing was seen as a super spreader of the virus. All group singing was forbidden. Vocal musicians and wind/brass instrumentalists were not allowed to perform for fear of spreading the virus. Even two metres was not enough distance to prevent the spread when singing was happening. Don McLean sang about the day the music died as the day Buddy Holly's plane went down. I began to understand the day the music died as March 16th, the day churches were asked to close their doors. Even now with some restrictions being lifted about singing, we are still told that congregational singing is a very unwise activity and that it should be avoided. And so except for the soloist who is well separated from the congregation, we will just have to sit back and listen and restrain ourselves from joining in the chorus.
So for me, and for those who find singing to be a spiritual exercise, we will have to find new ways to pray and to get closer to God. It will be hard for us. For those who don't appreciate church music, maybe it won't be as hard, but they will have to deal with others who are finding new ways to pray. It won't be easy. Worshipping in person will be a reality soon, but it will still be very different. Someday though we will be a able to make beautiful music together.