How shall I sing that majesty - Reflection by Canon Philip


Read Canon Philip's reflection for Thursday, 3 June 2021.

As I write I wonder, will this be the month when we can all sing again? Perhaps, like me, you have been able to sing out of doors – I have happy memories of some very wet carol singing just before Christmas in Wigan. People came to sing the familiar tunes and words that mean so much, and do so much to weave us into the story of God’s love for the world.

But we all understand, I think, why it has been easier for officials to relax other rules, while hymn singing by congregations remains suspended. It is simply too powerful, risky, all that air stirred up and shared.

It has been glorious to have the choir back in greater numbers since Easter, distanced, and when the children sing, masked. Hymns, however, are at the heart of our personal faith for many of us.

When the people of England were experiencing the gospel of God’s grace in a new way in the days of the Reformation, under the first Queen Elizabeth, they sang hymns, outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and psalms, the most ancient hymns. On the cross, Christ himself drew on these songs, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’ comes from Psalm 22. It describes a fate like his humiliation, and silencing, but it looks forward with hope, as do we, to Resurrection, and rejoicing,

“The poor shall eat, and be satisfied:
they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.”

These are words that come from the heart of God, and unite us with Christ. In the words of another verse from the psalms, as we wait patiently for news,

“O Lord, open thou our lips.”

Canon Philip 

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