• Rev. Caroline


The Silence customarily observed at war memorials throughout the country need not have been affected by the pandemic.

Individuals and small groups have carried out their act of remembrance as religiously as in previous years, besides attending the services of worship which have taken place in churches.

What would have been missing from most of these tributes was music, most often supplied by a piper or bugler: that haunting lament, cutting through the cold (or damp) November air, perhaps taking some listeners back in time to the battlefield, or to a previous Remembrance Day commemoration.

By contrast, the inclusion of music in a church service, during which singing is currently prohibited, seems to have acquired a greater significance.

I have found, in both the churches, that a piece of music chosen by the organist, in collaboration with the person leading the service, and played either during or at the close of worship, is much more than a background accompaniment to putting on our jacket, finding a hanky or cleaning our specs (habits I’ve always tried to avoid, incidentally).

Rather it provides an opportunity simply to enjoy the piece for itself, or else it might be an aid to prayer or contemplation, for instance. Such music is not incidental; it complements the words of worship, and perhaps also the silence of worship.

It will be interesting to see whether any changes currently being made to orders of service become permanent when all the restrictions are lifted . . .

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