Spiritual Practices in a time of pandemic: shared music

Rev Dr David Ferguson, Presbytery Officer for the Uniting Church WA, reflects on the power of shared music.

Last night one of my friends put up a video of two Muppets on her social media page. I only had to look at the two figures and immediately an annoying song started to play through my mind, but as it did it also reminded me of people and places that I have associated with that song in our lives.

There is something particularly evocative about music, and this property has been used over the generations to inspire and instruct us in our faith. Whether it be the soaring notes of an Oratorio, the dense theology of a Wesleyan hymn, the passion and energy of a contemporary praise song or the familiar words and themes of something home grown, music seems to speak to our very souls and draws us together.

When calling around rural congregations, I was made aware of just how important Songs of Praise is in so many people’s lives, and I have seen younger Christian friends sharing favourite songs on their social media pages. In even more technically advanced scenarios, bands and choirs have been able to gather and produce music together even from many scattered households.

Last weekend I spoke with a congregation that had shared in a service where a number of people had been recorded prior to the service, explaining a favourite hymn and what it means for them. That is the high technology solution, but even those who are producing printed resources may be able to have a ‘my favourite hymn’ column.

How does music draw you nearer to God? How does music help you to grow in relationship with others?

As we start to be able to get smaller gatherings together, how will music help your community to build bridges between those attending and those who have to stay at home?

I pray that you all may know the presence of our faithful God in these times of change and are able to hear God’s call to new and full life even in these troublesome times.

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