Let’s sing!

How many times have you heard a group of people say: ‘We’re just going out to have a good sing’? Probably not often! Singing, perhaps, isn’t one of the most fashionable things to do. Yet singing is a central part of most occasions that are significant in our lives: birthdays and anniversaries have their own little ditties; Christmas isn’t Christmas without chestnuts having a roast on an open fire; ceremonial occasions often involve singing the national anthem and most church services, whenever they take place, usually involve singing at least one hymn.Singing is inclusive, everyone and anyone can be involved. If a person has a voice, then they can sing. Most people would say that they have a favourite song or hymn. Yes, some people may feel that others have a ‘better’ voice than them, but that doesn’t mean that they are not able to sing. Some people are embarrassed by the thought of singing and prefer to sing only when they are on their own, perhaps in the shower. Even if they can’t quite remember the words, they just make them up!

Singing has the capacity to create an emotional response in us and allows us to express and communicate with each other at a deeper level than mere words alone. It often has the power to remind us of occasions and people from the past; it creates atmosphere and can make us smile or cringe, sometimes even at the same time. Singing has the power to motivate people. You just have to look at the faces of rugby or football players singing their respective national anthems before a big international match to see the effect it has on the players and the crowd alike.

Singing helps us to remember. Charles Wesley knew this, which is why he wrote so many hymns for the early Methodists to sing. Methodism was birthed during the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century and many of the workers who joined those first Methodist Societies were barely literate, so for them to sing their faith was a means of them learning their faith. That’s why so many of the hymns of that era were packed full of Christian doctrine.

The Reverend Brian Hoare, a past President of the Methodist Conference, has said that Methodism was ‘Born in song.’ And it’s true in my experience that Methodists, of all people, certainly enjoy a good sing.

Rev. Nick Lakin