“Sing a little song of trust, O my heart
Sing it just because you must.”

Our village has an enduringly robust reputation for staging acclaimed musical events. Enthusiastic players have delighted audiences for many years now with splendid productions all enhanced by colourful displays of costumes and background scenery. Players, who began with hesitant involvement, wondering if indeed they could offer a worthy contribution, have grown in confidence under the encouragement of leaders and fellow players. It has often been said that we all have a song to sing and the joy of releasing it can be profoundly and surprisingly liberating. The act of singing has huge therapeutic value, and our songs reflect every sentiment on the human spectrum.

No matter what age you may have reached, you will still feel the restlessness that comes from having an unsung song within your being, awaiting an outlet of expression before time runs out. No one else can sing your unique song although others may try to describe your life in their own terms. Only you can sing that song, and without it, the world would be deprived.

This is the season of the year when all nature sings. New baby animals are testing their voices, hungering for life in an awakening world. The air is resonant with birdsong from the dawn chorus to the last notes of evening. Music is our timeless companion, giving rhythm to work rotas, stirring national pride, expressing the pathos of loss and hushing to sleep with soft lullabies.

Jerome reported that in Palestine of old, the shepherds, vine-dressers, sowers, ploughmen and reapers all completed their daily tasks whilst humming to themselves the Psalms of David, the Sweet Singer of Israel.

In every culture, music may bind, embrace and enhance lives by lifting spirits above poverty, by strengthening resolve in dangerous situations and by bringing celebration to our rites of passage.

The Alpine shepherds had a charming custom of singing an evening farewell that carried across the crystal air of the mountains and valleys as the flocks were gathered and led down the homeward paths. They sang, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. Let us praise His name! Goodnight! Goodnight!”

Far into the distance the echoes carried the evening song till the words faded softly in the gloaming. However rugged the terrain was between the solitary shepherds, however weary their footsteps became, the linking of voices assured them of kindred spirits and bound them in brotherhood and fellowship.

In times of stress when we feel that darkness is enveloping us, we all need the reassurance of the cadence of voices reaching out to us with comfort and hope.

Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Hallelujah’ cost him many hours of anguish because he simply did not know what to do with the insistent fragments of inspiration that pounded on his brain. It has been interpreted as a reference to David and Bathsheba, and Samson and Delilah, the pairing of lives fractured like a broken hallelujah. Indeed David the Psalmist knew great turmoil, conflict, grief and salvation in the drama of his incredible life, transformed from the shepherd of the valley to the heights of kingship. He battled for the safety of a nation, knew betrayal and guilt, victory and loss. Throughout it all he sang in communion with his God, sought guidance and forgiveness and became a man after God’s own heart. He could sing Hallelujah to his Saviour God with utter conviction and an outpouring of love that drew heaven to earth and burst in his soul like a mighty volcano, brilliant, burning, dynamic. In Psalm 40 he rejoices because “He (God) has put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” It is an invitation, down through the ages, to share his joy in forgiveness and a restored relationship with God in whom he trusted.

J W Butcher shares his thoughts with us too.

“ I thank the Lord for hope;
what yet shall be, I may not know,
the unseen days will changes bring
but through them all hopes star shall glow
and I shall have my song to sing.”

Iris Niven

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