15th May 2023

Up till now I have avoided Eurovision: “not my thing… not my kind of music” but BBC coverage shows this year’s event in Liverpool in a different light. The whole city has turned out as the UK stages the contest on behalf of Ukraine, generating an atmosphere of kindliness and friendliness which seems to permeate the whole weekend. So we see T-shirts proclaiming ‘music unites’, yellow and blue flags and banners everywhere and amazing multi-coloured hats all celebrating Ukraine’s part in the weekend.

Eurovision also coincides with Mental Health Week which reminds us how much music helps minister to our wellbeing and improves our mental health. Singing, playing and dancing, even just listening to music we enjoy stimulates our responses and raises self-confidence and cheerfulness. We feel this ourselves, we heard of it in the military choirs first started by Gareth Malone and it is borne out practically by Dementia choirs and dance sessions.

The speaker on Radio 4 Thought for the Day this morning referred us back to music in the Bible which has a whole songbook in the Psalms and describes the Temple choirs started by King David, while St Paul tells new Christians to praise the Lord in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Music is a gift from God and we give it back to God. No wonder it is such a blessing!

Lesley Fuller