I thought I’d re-post this, that I wrote the weekend before last, in response to this Sunday’s Psalm. I’m genuinely looking for an answer for praising God, without being able to sing.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn —
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
Before we got married my mum said to Mr Pamsperambulation, “If she’s not singing in a morning within 3 minutes of putting her feet on the floor, you’re in trouble”. Music and particularly singing was an important and enjoyable part of my life, especially in worship, part of helping focus on God.
When you add to that the fact that Methodists are “Born in Song” – singing is what we do, you can see the place I was coming from.
One of the saddest parts of my illness is that I can no longer sing, more than a couple of lines and I’m off coughing and hoarse. Sometimes I can live with this, sometimes, especially in worship, I find it very hard.
I want to make it clear that I am not getting at anyone here, just exploring a way to live with what is, in a community that places a lot of emphasis on singing as a way to meet God – after all it is a way I would have used before I couldn’t. But I don’t want to let something that used to be such a fundamental part of my life and worship to come as a barrier between me and God, or the community that still worships that way. It’s me that’s changed – not the church.
It can’t just be me. What about people who just don’t like singing or music just doesn’t do it for them? Or people who come into our churches and know none of the hymns and songs we sing, finding it a totally alien concept? I suppose they find a service that suits them. But I have lost enough, and don’t want to feel I have to find a different church tradition too.
I had found one way of joining in with the music, by having a percussion instrument. It helped me to still feel a part of the singing instead of just standing like a lemon. But it’s not appropriate for all songs – and certainly not for all situations.
So how can I work this out? I have no answers, but have got to find a way to come to terms with it. Some days it’s ok, others it breaks my heart and makes me feel even more isolated and de-skilled than I already do. Anyone any suggestions?