Sing to the Lord!
It must be at least 9.56 am. I am cutting it fine to be in a pew before our minister Anita takes her place at the Communion table (I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get to the church from the car). With social distancing and pews blocked off with tape, I am almost at the chancel before I spy a place where I can safely sit. As I sit down, I look up and see Anita looking at me. Possibly thinking, “Well, Caroline’s cutting it a bit fine.”
But no, she is actually beckoning to me. Now I’m puzzled but I dutifully make my way to the table (yes, Anita was in her place before I was in mine) and discover I am to sit in the transept as one of today’s singers. I like singing. I only do it in Church. I’m not very good at it though. But, with the boot having been on the other foot on too many occasions (it can be so hard sometimes to find volunteers in a congregation) I willingly comply with Anita’s request and sit, socially distanced of course, from another "choir member". Before the service starts, we are joined by two other ladies who have been on welcome duty.
With Anita we make five and we are the singers for today. Singing with a face covering takes a bit of getting used to, as it’s harder to get a big breath. And the little praise song, “Jubilate, everybody”, inspired by the 100th Psalm, should be sung with gusto if at all. Even more so when we discover it is one of Anita’s favourites.
“Come before his presence singing” – and we do, as the rest of the congregation stand with us.
Psalm 100, sung to the tune “The Old Hundredth”, is arguably one of the best known psalms in Church of Scotland congregations. If we were challenged, we could probably sing it without recourse to the hymnbook, just like our forebears, many of whom would have been unable to read.
Of course it is not the Kirk’s psalm, for it goes back so much further than the Reformation. These words would have been known by Jesus, taught to him perhaps by his mother, following in the footsteps of previous generations, going back to Joseph’s ancestor, King David, who was credited with the authorship of the psalms (or at least some of them).
Throughout scripture, notably in the psalms, there are references to singing. Here is one of my favourites from the New Testament (Ephesians chapter 5, verses 19-20):
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews chapter 13, verse 2)
Even if we feel we don’t have the voice of an angel, let’s use it to praise the Lord!
“Sing to the Lord of heaven and earth, whom angels serve and saints adore
the Father, Son and Spirit blest, to whom be praise for evermore.”